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.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Global Warming: Fake News from the Start

President Trump Opens Doors on Oil Exploration, but Deeper Reforms Needed

Offshore Cape Wind Project Dead

I didn’t want to have to wait until the next issue of our Newsletter to share with you two pieces of VERY good news…

1 – The developer for the large proposed offshore Cape Wind project officially threw in the towel. This story has yet to be picked up by major media outlets, but this excellent news is the direct result of some fifteen (15±) years of hard work, dedication and financial donations by a lot of good people.

Kudos to our friends at Save Our Sound who led this fight. Hopefully by the time the Newsletter comes out there will be a detailed, accurate account about this interesting saga — which I’ll then pass on. We believe that much of what was learned here can be applied to other wind projects, onshore and offshore.

2 – Since it didn’t get a lot of press, not many people know that there was a very high-level Climate Change debate. This was sponsored by APS (a physics society). The professionally moderated meeting consisted of three top experts on each side of the global warming issue. It was a lively discussion.

Just last week Rupert Darwall put together a simply outstanding summary of that event. I thought he did an excellent job of delineating the main issues of a complex topic in an understandable manner — and then reasonably representing each side’s arguments on all of those primary issues. The bottom line is that if you’d like to get a superior understanding of the different positions on climate change, carefully go through his fascinating and very readable summary.

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.

VIDEO: At the Crossroads IV — Energy & Climate Policy Summit

I just got back to California last night after a packed week in our nation’s capital. Happily, it was by far the most impactful week I’ve ever spent in DC.

The most exciting development during the trip is something I can’t talk about yet, unfortunately–and its outcome is uncertain–but there is a real chance I will help shape a new project that will give tens of millions of people access to energy for the first time. I should know within six months.

Now, what I can talk about.

Yesterday I spoke at the “Crossroads IV: Energy and Climate Policy Summit” hosted by the Heritage Foundation and the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). I gave the latest version of my “Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” talk. (Starts about 2:14:00 in.) If you haven’t heard me speak in a while make sure to check it out as I’ve added some new content, particularly about how to properly frame the discussion.

Also, make sure to watch the appearance by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. I was very impressed by him; he clearly cares and thinks carefully about both industrial progress and environmental quality. (One interesting point he made is that previous EPAs didn’t care about environmental quality because they were on their anti-carbon crusades.) I didn’t get to meet him this time around because he left immediately for a flight, but I will make sure to in the future. I would certainly like to help his efforts in any way that I can.

Thanks to the TPPF, especially Brooke Rollins and Chip Roy, for inviting me. Also thanks to the Heritage Foundation, who sponsored one of the first Moral Case for Fossil Fuels launch events back in 2014.

On Wednesday morning I spoke to the Congressional Coal Caucus. Congressman Andy Barr of Kentucky invited me and he was joined by about seven other Congressmen, including Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota. I discussed how coal supporters have failed by “arguing to 0” (including defending coal primarily based on jobs) and outlined how they could “argue to 100” that coal is good because it is so often the best form of energy for human flourishing.

I also had some meetings with major thought leaders and political officials. It’s very gratifying that The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels has given me the opportunity to have a real influence on energy policy.

You can also check out two of my recent recent interviews. In my appearance on the Wealth Formula Podcast, we delved deep into how to have constructive conversations about fossil fuels (and controversial issues in general). You can listen to that here.

I also had a fun interview with the Renegade Report about my debate at Africa Oil Week, where I got to discuss some of the things I learned during my trip to Africa. You can listen to that here.

ALSO: Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help your organization turn non-supporters into supporters and turn supporters into champions.

1. Hire me to speak at your next event.

If you have an upcoming board meeting, employee town hall, or association meeting, I have some new and updated speeches about the moral case for fossil fuels, winning hearts and minds, and communications strategy in the new political climate. If you’d like to consider me for your event, just reply to this message and put “Event” in the subject line.

2. Fill out the free Constructive Conversation Scorecard to assess where you are and where you want to be in your one-on-one communications.

Email it back to me and I’ll send you my step-by-step Constructive Conversation System that will enable you to talk to anyone about energy.

3. Hold a Constructive Conversation workshop.

For the last two years I have been testing and refining an approach to one-on-one conversations that anybody can use. I call it the Constructive Conversation Formula. If you have between 5-20 people who interact frequently with stakeholders and want custom guidance on how to win hearts and minds, just reply to this email and put “Workshop” in the subject line.

Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) endorsed by radical environmentalist group

Florida Representative proudly posted on his Facebook page an endorsement by Ocean 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. In a July 19, 2010 press release titled “Conservation Groups Applaud National Ocean Policy” David Wilmot, Ph.D., President and Co-Founder of Ocean Champion stated:

The nation can now look to the National Ocean Policy to provide a guiding vision for all federal agencies and a needed mandate for the future protection and restoration of our coasts, oceans, islands and Great Lakes.

The House Committee on Natural Resources wrote this about the Obama administration’s National Ocean Policy:

  • In four separate Congresses, legislation has been introduced to implement similar far-reaching ocean policies, and to-date NO bill has passed the House or been reported out of a Committee. Despite numerous requests from the Committee, the administration has yet to cite specific statutory authority on which this policy is based.
  • Rather than streamline Federal management, the policy adds layers of additional Federal bureaucracy that could significantly impact the economic and recreational uses of our oceans, ocean lands, and potentially all rivers, tributaries and lands that drain or adjoin our oceans. In total, the Executive Order creates: 10 National Policies; a 27-member National Ocean Council; an 18-member Governance Coordinating Committee; and 9 Regional Planning Bodies. This has led to an additional: 9 National Priority Objectives; 9 Strategic Action Plans; 7 National Goals for Coastal Marine Spatial Planning; and 12 Guiding Principles for Coastal Marine Spatial Planning to be created.
  • Restrictive national standards, along with ocean zoning, could slow and potentially stop the permitting of activities such as commercial and recreational fishing and energy production. This will harm the economy and cost jobs.
  • Although the policy is portrayed by the administration as primarily targeting Ocean related activities, recently released documents show just the opposite. The draft implement plan specifically states that the policy plans to address “the major impacts of urban and suburban development and agriculture—including forestry and animal feedlots.”
  • The policy establishes a Federally-controlled system of regional planning bodies that could override local and state zoning authorities. These bodies will have broad authority to issue regulations potentially impacting all activities that occur on lands adjacent to rivers, tributaries or watersheds that eventually drain into the ocean, yet these bodies will allow no representation by the people, communities and businesses that will actually be impacted by the regulations.
  • The new national standards will also create a whole new class of lawsuits that could further restrict permitting of coastal and ocean activities and create a new way to challenge state permitting decisions for activities that “might affect” the ocean environment. This initiative is poised to become a litigation nightmare.
  • Over 80 national and local organizations representing agriculture, forestry, energy, fishing, boating, mining, transportation and construction wrote to Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers requesting a prohibition on funding for the implementation of the President’s National Ocean Policy.
  • This new policy will affect already budget-strapped agencies such as NOAA, Department of Commerce, Department of the Interior, EPA, Department of Transportation, USDA, Homeland Security, and the Army Corps of Engineers. As Federal budgets are further reduced, it is unclear how much funding the agencies are taking from existing programs to develop and implement this new initiative. [Emphasis added]

So Buchanan is against Florida’s fishing, boating, agricultural, forestry and energy industries. He wants to take control of  Florida’s shorelines and give oversight to unelected bureaucrats. He wants less permitting for construction along Florida’s shores and more lawsuits.

So is Rep. Buchanan pro-Florida? Pro jobs and for a growing Florida economy. Is he for the working people of Florida or not.

According to the House Committee on Natural Resources you can’t be pro-ocean and pro-growth. Pick one: the people of Florida or the ocean.

We report, you do your own research.

RELATED ARTICLE:

Fishermen Need More Flexibility than NOAA Doles Out

Six Years Later, Strong Uncertainty About President Obama’s National Ocean Policy Remains

Some Recent Energy & Environmental News

The newest edition of the Energy and Environmental Newsletter is now online.

We’re repeating this key report as it is very popular: at least ten (10) financial liabilities that can adversely affect a community hosting a wind project!

Here’s a new summary document that lists multiple ways that industrial wind turbines can interfere with various types of communication — including RADAR.

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

Wind and Solar Power Advance, but Carbon Refuses to Retreat

Wind & Solar are Less Efficient Decarbonizers than CC Gas Turbines

Maine DEP Issues Draft Wind Energy Rules (two VERY good parts)

Grid-Scale Storage of Renewable Energy: The Impossible Dream

Tesla battery production releases as much CO2 as 8 years of gasoline driving

Report by head of German Wildlife FoundationTruly Green?

Stop Subsidizing the Big Wind Bullies

Excellent: Senate speech re killing the wind PTC

Presentation: Hidden Costs of Wind and Solar Power

Videos: America First Energy Conference

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

Unambiguous Fraud In The National Climate Assessment

The Paris Agreement: A Fairytale’s Failure

Reconciling CO2 Concentrations With Emissions and Energy Consumption

NOAA Lets Politics Corrupt Its Science

Important crowd-funding request is here

Core of climate science is in the real-world data

The Climate Alarmists Definitely Don’t Believe Their Own Propaganda

NYT: The Climate Crisis? It’s Capitalism, Stupid

The Real Story Behind The Heartland Institute’s Role In The Trump Admin

John Droz, Jr.
Physicist & Citizen Advocate

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.

After 30 Years, Alarmists Are Still Predicting A Global Warming ‘Apocalypse’

By Michael Bastasch

For at least three decades scientists and environmental activists have been warning that the world is on the verge of a global warming “apocalypse” that will flood coastal cities, tear up roads and bridges with mega-storms and bring widespread famine and misery to much of the world.

The only solution, they say, is to rid the world of fossil fuels — coal, natural gas and oil — that serve as the pillars of modern society. Only quick, decisive global action can avert the worst effects of manmade climate change, warn international bodies like the United Nations, who say we only have decades left — or even less!

Of course, human civilization has not collapsed, despite decades of predictions that we only have years left to avert disaster. Ten years ago, the U.N. predicted we only had “as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more.”

This failed prediction, however, has not stopped the U.N. and others from issuing more apocalyptic statements.

To celebrate nearly three decades of dire predictions, The Daily Caller News Foundation put together this list of some of the most severe doomsday prophecies made by scientists, activists and politicians:

1. Apocalyptic warnings on repeat

A group of 1,700 scientists and experts signed a letter 25 years ago warning of massive ecological and societal collapse if nothing was done to curb overpopulation, pollution and, ultimately, the capitalist society in which we live today.

The Union of Concerned Scientists put out a second letter earlier this year, once again warning of the dire consequences of global warming and other alleged ecological ills. Now numbering 15,000, the group warns “soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out.”

“We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home,” the scientists and experts warned.

It’s a terrifying warning — if you ignore the fact that none of their 1992 warning has come to fruition.

2. The planet will be “uninhabitable” by the end of the century

New York Magazine writer David Wallace-Wells published a 7,000-word article claiming global warming could make Earth “uninhabitable” by “the end of this century.”

Wallace-Wells’s article warned of terrors, like “Heat Death,” “Climate Plagues,” “Permanent Economic Collapse” and “Poisoned Oceans.”

“Indeed, absent a significant adjustment to how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century,” Wallace-Wells wrote.

3. Prince Charles’s global warming deadline passed…and nothing happened

Prince Charles famously warned in July 2009 that humanity had only 96 months to save the world from “irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse, and all that goes with it.” That deadline has passed, and the prince has not issued an update to when the world needs to be saved.

Though the recently-released “Paradise Papers” show Charles lobbied U.K. lawmakers to enact policies that benefited his estate’s investment in a Bermuda company that does sustainable forestry. So, there’s that.

4. ‘Ice Apocalypse’ Now

Liberal writer and climate scientist Eric Holthaus claimed manmade global warming would set off the “ice apocalypse” at a pace “too quickly for humanity to adapt.”

Holthaus warned the wholesale collapse of two Antarctic glaciers — Pine Island and Thwaites — could happen sooner than previously believed, resulting in “flooding coastal cities and creating hundreds of millions of climate refugees.” Sounds terrible, but his conclusions aren’t really backed up by the science.

“I think his article is too pessimistic: that it overstates the possibility of disaster. Too soon, too certain,” Tamsin Edwards, a scientist who’s studied Antarctica, wrote in The Guardian about Holthaus’s article.

5. 2015 is the ‘last effective opportunity’ to stop catastrophic warming

World leaders meeting at the Vatican  issued a statement saying that 2015 was the “last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that keep human-induced warming below 2-degrees [Celsius].”

Pope Francis wants to weigh in on global warming, and is expected to issue an encyclical saying basically the same thing. Francis reiterated that 2015 is the last chance to stop massive warming.

But what he should really say is that the U.N. conference this year is the “last” chance to cut a deal to stem global warming…since last year when the U.N. said basically the same thing about 2014’s climate summit.

6. France’s foreign minister said we only have “500 days” to stop “climate chaos”

When Laurent Fabius met with Secretary of State John Kerry on May 13, 2014 to talk about world issues he said “we have 500 days to avoid climate chaos.”

Ironically at the time of Fabius’ comments, the U.N. had scheduled a climate summit to meet in Paris in December 2015 — some 565 days after his remarks. Looks like the U.N. is 65 days too late to save the world.

7. Former President Barack Obama is the last chance to stop global warming

When Obama made the campaign promise to “slow the rise of the oceans,” some environmentalists may have taken him quite literally.

The United Nations Foundation President Tim Wirth told Climatewire in 2012 that Obama’s second term was “the last window of opportunity” to impose policies to restrict fossil fuel use. Wirth said it’s “the last chance we have to get anything approaching 2 degrees Centigrade,” adding that if “we don’t do it now, we are committing the world to a drastically different place.”

Even before that, then-National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center head James Hansen warned in 2009 that Obama only “has four years to save Earth.”

8. Remember when we had “hours” to stop global warming?

World leaders met in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009 to potentially hash out another climate treaty. That same year, the head of Canada’s Green Party wrote that there was only “hours” left to stop global warming.

“We have hours to act to avert a slow-motion tsunami that could destroy civilization as we know it,” Elizabeth May, leader of the Greens in Canada, wrote in 2009. “Earth has a long time. Humanity does not. We need to act urgently. We no longer have decades; we have hours. We mark that in Earth Hour on Saturday.”

Europe Squanders Money on Green Dreams

By Cathie Adams, Eagle Forum International Issues Chairman.

President Trump’s energy agenda assures a bright future for Americans. He and his delegation did an amazing job defending free-market capitalism, national sovereignty, and our standard of living in Bonn without pandering to the radical greens. To stay on this bright path, it is imperative that Americans understand the United Nations agenda, and boldly stand with our President.

The supposed purpose of the Bonn meeting was to create a rulebook to implement the Paris Agreement, but that work will continue into next year at meetings leading up to the next major meeting in Poland.

Senators at COP23 in Bonn, Germany

The real purpose of the Bonn meeting, and every climate change meeting, is to redistribute wealth from rich to poor countries.  This statement by the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) prior to convening in Bonn affirms the claim: “The LDCs are calling for COP23 to be a COP of finance and support…for two funds in particular, the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Adaptation Fund.” They were highly successful as evidenced by these examples:

  • Germany pledged 50 million Euros on the opening day of the conference to the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and another 50 million Euros to the Adaptation Fund.
  • Germany also pledged an additional $125 million for an InsuResilience Initiative, a provision of insurance to 400 million poor people by 2020. This insurance mechanism is a partnership between Germany, the UK, other nations, and financial institutions such as the World Bank. This brings G20 nations into partnership with 49 vulnerable nations, called the V20.
  • Germany and Britain combined pledged $153 million to expand programs to fight climate change and deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
  • The UK pledged 30 million Pounds to its Centre for Global Disaster Protection. And to immediately begin phasing out its coal usage.
  • Belgium pledged 3.25 million Euros to the LDCF.
  • Sweden pledged $185 million to the Adaptation Fund, plus $185 million to the LDCF.
  • Luxembourg pledged 5 million Euros to the Green for Growth Fund for development in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Norway, Unilever, and the World Bank pledged $400 million to stimulate resilient social development, i.e. high productivity agriculture, smallholder inclusion and forest protection. Laura Tuck, VP of sustainable development at the World Bank commented, “Achieving economic development and the eradication of poverty can’t be achieved if we don’t build climate resilience. This is why the World Bank is putting resilience, and the management of climate risks, at the heart of its investments.”
  • Norway also announced that it will divest its pension funds amounting to about $35-40 billion from fossil fuel companies.
  • Italy pledged 7 million Euros to the Adaptation Fund and another 2.5 million Euros to create a new “Capacity Award Program to Advance Capabilities and Institutional Training in one Year (CAPACITY) to developing local professional expertise in countries that are most vulnerable to climate change.
  • The European Investment Bank pledged $75 million for a new $405 million investment for the Water Authority of Fiji to strengthen the resilience of water distribution and wastewater treatment following Cyclone Winston in February 2016.
  • The Green Climate Fund and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development pledged a $37.6 grant for a $243 million project to make Moroccan agriculture more resilient.
  • The World Resources Institute pledged $2.1 billion of private investment to restore degraded lands in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • The UN Development Program, Germany, Spain and the EU pledged 42 million Euros for the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Support Program to help countries deliver on the Paris Agreement.
  • Thirteen countries and the International Energy Agency pledged 30 million Euros to the “IEA Clean Energy Transitions Program” to support clean energy transitions around the world.
  • Ecuador pledged to reduce 15 million tons of CO2 emissions in its forest sector.
  • National parks in the central African nation of Gabon pledged to halt illegal logging to stop 20 million tons of CO2.
  • Microsoft and Walmart also announced pledges to the UN climate change agenda. Microsoft pledged to cut CO2 emissions by 75% by 2030. And Walmart pledged to provide commodities that do not increase deforestation.
  • A gender action plan, an indigenous peoples platform, and an oceans pathway were created, but the Fiji host did not get what they wanted most: money for storm loss and damage.

Billions or even trillions of dollars will never satisfy the radical greens. Raijeli Nicole, regional director for Oxfam in the Pacific, put it this way, “For the most part, rich countries showed up to Bonn empty-handed. Instead, we got a tepid agreement that they’ll report back next year on progress towards their $100 billion promise.” The $100 billion promise is the annual UN Green Climate Fund that currently contains only about $10 billion.

Litigation abuse is another tool being plied by the radical greens.They have a number of legal cases hoping the courts will impose penalties for climate change on fossil fuel companies, similar to the penalties that were levied against the tobacco industry. They also bragged about potential litigation against major meat producers accusing them of liability for methane emissions.

The U.S. wisely kept a low profile in Bonn. Judith G. Garber, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, did address the delegations reiterating President Trump’s plan to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, yet to remain open to rejoining under terms more favorable to the American people. She reported that while the U.S., since 2005, has reduced net greenhouse gas emissions by 11.5%, our economy has grown 15%, adjusted for inflation. She added that the U.S. will continue to support the cleanest, most efficient power generation, regardless of the source.

But that didn’t prevent U.S. Democratic Senators from Rhode Island, Oregon, Hawaii and Massachusetts from showing up in Bonn to make delusional claims: “Trump is just a temporary resident of the White House….Climate outlasts Presidents….We hold the Trump card….The American people are still in [the Paris Agreement.”

Jesse Young, a senior advisor at Oxfam America, also threw jabs at Garber’s remarks: “Today, the U.S. said it remains open to staying in Paris, and wants to help the world address the challenges of climate change. But until they cease their efforts to leave Paris and actually invest in policies to fight climate impacts — today’s statement will be worth little more than the paper on which it was written.”

Oxfam’s Pacific representative added, “From activists to governors and business leaders, we saw the real face of American climate activism here in Bonn. The world has left Trump behind, sitting alone on a throne of coal.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

The undeniable truth is that America’s free-market capitalism, our clean air and water, and our standard of living are lights on a hill that can greatly benefit the rest of the world. Should the radical greens choose to take off their socialist blinders, they too can follow our successful path to an even brighter future.

Cathie Adams

Cathie Adams currently serves as the “International Issues” chairman for Eagle Forum and on the board of the national Eagle Forum. She previously served five years as president of the Dallas Eagle Forum and 16 years as president of the Texas Eagle Forum, until being elected chairman of the Republican Party of Texas in 2009. She was named by Campaigns and Elections magazine’s August 2010 issue as one of the top 50 Republican influencers in Texas.

Eagle Forum’s mission is to enable conservative and pro-family men and women to participate in the process of self-government and public policy-making so that America will continue to be a land of individual liberty, respect for family integrity, public and private virtue, and private enterprise.

Cathie has been an election judge, a member of the district, state and national resolutions/platform committees; and a delegate to five Republican National Conventions. She was elected Republican National Committeewoman for Texas and as Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.

Capitol Inside’s Texas Lobby Power Rankings placed Cathie first on their list of lobbyists for cause from 2005 through 2009. “The Democratic insurgence hasn’t pushed Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams out of the number one spot on the list of people who lobby for causes. Adams, a veteran activist who was elected to the Republican National Committee last summer, commands the immediate attention of GOP lawmakers whenever her organization decides to turn up the grassroots pressure on conservative issues dear to its heart.”

Most recently, Cathie has been observing the United Nations design a Green Climate Fund. As an observer of major UN conferences since 1995, Cathie enjoys telling about her experiences. She attended the Women’s Conference in Beijing, China; the Housing Summit in Istanbul, Turkey; the Food Summit in Rome, Italy; and a number of Climate Change meetings in Kyoto, Japan, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bonn, Germany, The Hague, Netherlands, Poznan, Poland and Cancun, Mexico. When the International Criminal Court was created in Rome in 1998, Cathie attended the proceedings. She also attended the 2000 Millennium Summit in New York City, the Global Taxing Summit in Monterrey, Mexico, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. She traveled to Hong Kong for a Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization and to Paris, France for a UNESCO meeting.

Cathie has been involved in other civic activities as well. She was a member of the Human Services Commission for the City of Dallas, and has testified before the State Board of Education as well as several Legislative committees in Austin, Texas. The news media frequently calls her for the “conservative” side of their reporting.

Mrs. Cathie Adams is a full-time volunteer. She has been married to Dr. Homer Adams for 41 years and they have five grandchildren. Their son and daughter-in-law are both Texas A&M graduates.

Posts by Cathie Adams

Rep. Vern Buchanan Wrong on Sea Levels Rising, Wrong on the Paris Accord

Florida  Representative Vern Buchanan is running for reelection in 2018. He is now officially a career politician first elected in 2006. Buchanan has sadly learned how to pander to certain constituencies, like environmentalists, for political gain.

Recently Buchanan sent out the following in an email with an accompanying ABC Channel 7 video:

Climate change is a serious issue for a state like Florida that has two coastlines vulnerable to rising waters. That’s why I am again calling on President Trump to reconsider his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the landmark Paris Climate Accord.

Take a look at the video below and let me know what you think by replying to this email.

Vern

The greatest problem facing Florida is saltwater intrusion not rising sea levels.

Dr. Roger Bezdek has found that salt water intrusion is caused by land subsidence due to groundwater withdrawal from subsurface shale and sandstone formations, and to “glacial isostatic adjustments” that have been ongoing since the last glaciers melted.

In a column titled “Sea level rise – or land subsidence? Excessive groundwater pumping is the real culprit” CFACT reports:

[T]he Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated in 2007 that seas might rise up to only 2 feet by 2107. By comparison, oceans have risen nearly 400 feet since the last ice age ended, reflecting how much water was trapped in mile-thick glaciers that buried much of North America, Europe, and Asia. In recent decades, though, global sea level rise has averaged just 7 inches per century…

[ … ]

As a new report by Dr. Roger Bezdek explains, reality is much different. (His report awaits publication in a scientific journal.) At least for the Chesapeake region, Houston-Galveston, Texas, area, Santa Clara Valley, California, and other places around the globe, the primary cause of seawater intrusions is not rising oceans – but land subsidence due to groundwater withdrawal from subsurface shale and sandstone formations, and to “glacial isostatic adjustments” that have been ongoing since the last glaciers melted.

The solution therefore is not to continue trying to control Earth’s climate – an impossible, economy-busting task that would further impede fossil fuel use, economic development, job creation, and human health and welfare. The solution requires reducing groundwater removal in these coastal areas. 

President Trump was right to leave the Paris Accord. It is nothing more than a massive $100 billion annual “climate finance” transfer of money from the United States to third world countries. Also understand that China, Russia and India are paying nothing.

Clearly Representative Buchanan needs to understand that mankind cannot control either the weather or sea levels. But Florida can control the removal of groundwater in our coastal areas.

The real issue with Buchanan is drilling off of Florida’s coastlines, not the Paris Accord. He is against drilling while President Trump is opening up vast areas to energy exploration and fast tracking environmental processes and removing regulatory hindrances to energy exploration and drilling.

Buchanan is anti-President Trump’s policies of economic growth via increased energy production. That’s the real issue facing Floridians. Cheap reliable power or sending billions in U.S. tax dollars to third world nations. You choose.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Europe Squanders Money on Green Dreams

Another Obama Legacy: Americans Will Pay Billions for a Useless Climate Agreement

President Obama’s Climate-Change Agenda Costs American Lives

China caused a two percent surge in global CO2 emissions after joining the UN climate pact

Alarmists feverish over sea levels

From COP23 in Fiji to COP24 in Katowice the heart of Polish coal country

COP 23, the UN climate conference in Bonn, Germany, ended with a coal-powered whimper.

The point of the meeting was to write the rule book for the Paris Climate Agreement that President Obama signed the U.S. onto.

President Trump then declared that the U.S. would exit Paris and make no future payments to the UN’s Green Climate Fund upon which President Obama lavished $1 billion on his way out the door.

Paris calls for developed nations such as the U.S., Europeans, Japan, Canada and Australia to redistribute $100 billion starting in 2020.  That doesn’t seem very likely.  China and India don’t have to pay, by the way.

The island nation of Fiji chaired the COP and joined a host of poor countries in calling for the cash to start flowing.  They wanted “accelerated payments” even before Paris begins.  That money is, after all, the reason the poor nations signed on.They also want the developed world to assume liability for their “loss and damage” when they experience weather-related losses. It is important that we never agree to pay compensation for what, in reality, are naturally occurring weather events.  President Trump and the U.S. team were effective here in leading Europe and the rest in once again keeping loss and damage out the Paris Agreement.  COP 23 agreed to create a panel to “study” the issue and to make much smaller amounts available to developing nations.  That line must be held going forward.

Another key issue is the degree to which national reporting of emissions efforts will be transparent and verifiable.  The COP adopted some language on this, but China, the largest and fastest growing CO2 emitter, continues to resist verifiable standards.  They claim verification would be “too expensive.”  The satirical news site The Onion posted a brilliant headline on this a few years ago, “China Vows To Begin Aggressively Falsifying Air Pollution Numbers.”  Satire has a way of becoming all too real.

The level at which the rhetoric at COP 23, even from official negotiators, heads of state and elected officials, is divorced from the scientific facts on climate continues to astound.

When the President of Fiji tells the world that his island is already hard hit by global warming, and that last year’s Cyclone Winston was a product of climate change, he is way off.  It is tragic that 42 people lost their lives last year in Fiji.  However, they did not die because we drive cars and use electricity.

When disaster strikes the U.S. helps, not because, we are to blame, but because we are good neighbors.  Attributing natural weather to climate change as a rationale for redistribution of wealth needs to stop.

Climate pressure groups put out this nonsense, left-wing climate campaigners chant it in the halls, an unquestioning press prints it, and it ends up part of the official UN climate dialogue.  These narratives are unsupported by facts.  Check out Climate Depot’s extreme weather report for substantial details.

Next year’s COP 24 will be in Katowice, Poland.  The Poles underbid and won the right to host the COP.  We couldn’t think of a better venue.  Katowice is in the heart of Poland’s vital coal mining industry.  Local Poles are keenly aware that the UN is targeting their livelihood and Poland’s energy independence for extinction.  Like the coal miners in The Hunger Games District 12, they are ready to revolt.

Poland has a unique perspective.  The Poles experienced the tragedy of Socialist central planning up close and personal.  They’ve had enough and are shocked when spoiled westerners come back for more.  They certainly don’t want to depend on Russian natural gas to keep their lights on.

We look forward to ensuring the UN hears the real facts on global warming from CFACT and the Poles loud and clear.

Podcast: The Silliness of Climate Change Activists Protesting Trump

The Paris Agreement would have resulted in dire economic consequences for the U.S.—and wouldn’t have significantly affected the earth’s temperature. Yet, at a conference in Germany this month, President Donald Trump and his administration came under fire for the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

On today’s podcast, we discuss that, the result of Australia’s vote on same-sex marriage, and whether culture drives politics or politics drives culture, and what it says about our culture that a new report shows people left Thanksgiving dinner early if their family didn’t agree on politics in 2016.

Portrait of Katrina Trinko

Katrina Trinko

Katrina Trinko is managing editor of The Daily Signal and a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors. Send an email to Katrina. Twitter: @KatrinaTrinko.

Portrait of Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis is the commentary editor of The Daily Signal. Twitter: @JDaniel_Davis.

Portrait of Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.

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.

Ukraine Turns to American Coal to Defend Itself Against Russia

KYIV, Ukraine—Sometimes, wars aren’t won by tank battles and infantry assaults. Sometimes, it comes down to keeping the heat on.

As Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine nears its fifth calendar year—and as Ukraine’s infamously cold winter draws near—American companies are incrementally cutting into Russia’s de facto monopoly as a supplier of nuclear fuel and coal to Ukraine, thereby undermining a longtime coercive lever of Russian influence over Kyiv.

“In recent years, [Kyiv] and much of Eastern Europe have been reliant on and beholden to Russia to keep the heat on. That changes now,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said in July, announcing an $80 million deal to ship more U.S. coal to Ukraine.

“The United States can offer Ukraine an alternative,” Perry said.

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has often leveraged its power over Ukraine through the energy economy. Particularly, by cutting off gas supplies in winter. Consequently, energy security remains a linchpin for Ukraine’s fight for sovereignty from Moscow.

“Energy for years has been and continues on a daily non-military basis to be the prime Russian instrument for corrupting and subverting Ukraine,” Stephen Blank, senior fellow for Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council, told The Daily Signal.

The war in Ukraine is approaching its fifth calendar year. (Photos: Nolan Peterson/The Daily Signal)

In the past year, the U.S. has upped its coal exports to Ukraine by more than 40 percent. The $80 million coal deal announced in July was for Pennsylvania-based Xcoal Energy & Resources to ship 700,000 tons of thermal coal to Ukraine by the end of the year—in time for the country to stockpile its energy reserves before the winter.

“It is a significant contribution to our energy security and a vivid proof of mutually beneficial strategic cooperation between our two nations,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wrote in a Facebook post in September, following the first delivery of U.S. coal to Ukraine under the deal.

“While it continues to steal Ukrainian coal from Ukrainian Donbas, Russia has lost yet another tool for its energy blackmailing,” Poroshenko said, referring to Ukraine’s embattled southeastern Donbas region, where Ukrainian forces remain in combat against a combined force of pro-Russian separatists, foreign mercenaries, and Russian regulars.

On Tuesday, Kyiv announced it had introduced sanctions against Russia’s Yuzhtrans LLC, part of the Yuzhnaya Coal Co., which is one of the largest suppliers of anthracite coal from Russia to Ukraine.

Still, even after 43 months of de facto war between the two nations, Russia remains Ukraine’s top supplier of coal and nuclear fuel. Yet, U.S. companies are slowly chipping away at Russia’s dominance in Ukraine’s energy economy.

In 2014, 100 percent of Ukraine’s nuclear fuel came from Russia. By 2016, Russia’s share was down to 55 percent.

The U.S.-based nuclear power company Westinghouse now supplies nuclear fuel for six of Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors, generating about 30 percent of Ukraine’s overall energy needs.

In June, Poroshenko announced plans to further reduce Russia’s share of nuclear fuel supplies to Ukraine to 45 percent—with Westinghouse providing the remaining 55 percent.

“This will increase nuclear security,” Poroshenko said, according to a statement on his administration’s website.

Many ex-Soviet states like Ukraine rely heavily on Russian energy supplies spanning the gamut from coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear fuel. A key means for the U.S. to thwart Russian coercive control over Ukraine and other post-Soviet states is to provide an alternative to Russia for energy security.

Increasing U.S. coal shipments to Ukraine will “allow Ukraine to diversify its energy sources ahead of the coming winter, helping bolster a key strategic partner against regional pressures that seek to undermine U.S. interests,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement about the July coal deal.

According to Blank, however, eroding Russia’s leverage over Ukraine in the energy domain will require more than U.S. coal and nuclear fuel imports.

“I do see energy security as a key piece of the puzzle, but Ukraine also must do more to reform its entire energy economy beyond the impressive steps that it already has accomplished to keep it from becoming a Russian political football,” Blank said.

“Transparent markets will do a lot to effectuate such movement over time and restrict, though not terminate, Russian influence,” Blank added. “The point is to depoliticize Russian energy.”

Pressure Points

This November, after 43 months of nonstop combat, Ukrainian troops remain hunkered down in trenches and ad hoc forts along a 250-mile-long front line in the country’s embattled, southeastern Donbas region. There, Ukraine’s military continues to fight a grinding, static war against a combined force of pro-Russian separatists and Russian regulars that began in April 2014.

The conflict has, so far, killed more than 10,100 Ukrainians and displaced about 1.7 million people. The war has also dealt Ukraine’s economy a body blow—particularly when it comes to the energy economy.

When Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014, it cost Ukraine about $1 billion in energy production assets. Russia’s subsequent proxy war in Ukraine’s southeastern Donbas region—the heart of Ukraine’s coal industry—also hit the country’s economy hard.

Russia’s proxy territories in the Donbas region amount to about 5 percent of Ukraine’s overall landmass, but accounted for about half of Ukraine’s coal and all of its anthracite extraction prior to the conflict.

Consequently, overall Ukrainian coal production dropped by 22 percent in 2014, the year Russian launched its proxy war in the Donbas. In the following, and despite the de facto state of war between the two countries, Russia was Ukraine’s largest coal supplier and coal shipments still traversed the front lines out of the Donbas into the rest of Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine began in April of 2014—daily fighting is ongoing.

Blocking coal supplies has become a key domain of Russia’s hybrid war on Ukraine.

In 2014, Ukraine’s energy economy faced near disaster. Russia had blocked its coal supplies, forcing 22 Ukrainian power plants to shut down temporarily.

That year, Ukraine purchased about $1.77 billion worth of coal, of which roughly $1.14 billion, or about 64 percent, came from Russia.

From January to October of 2017, Ukrainian coal imports jumped up to $2.15 billion, according to the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine.

Russia was the top coal supplier this year, accounting for 55.7 percent of total supplies, worth $1.2 billion. At 25 percent of the market, or $546.8 million, the United States was the second-leading supplier.

“This administration looks forward to making available even more of our abundant natural resources to allies and partners like Ukraine in the future to promote their own energy security through diversity of supply and source,” Perry said.

Ukraine has also turned to the European Union to divorce itself from Russian energy supplies.

In 2014, almost 100 percent of Ukraine’s natural gas supply came from Russia. Today, it all comes from the EU.

“Only three years ago resolute measures were taken. As a result, in 2016 and 2017 Ukraine did not consume Russian gas,” Poroshenko said in the online statement, adding: “Having carried out revolutionary measures, we buy all our gas in Europe today and do not let anyone blackmail Ukraine.”

Close Call

In February 2017, combined Russian-separatist forces shelled power lines supplying the Avdiivka Coke Plant in the front-line town of Avdiivka. The attack cut off all power to the facility.

All power and heating for Avdiivka and its 16,000 residents comes from the coke plant. And so, as temperatures plunged double digits below zero Celsius, Avdiivka went dark and cold. Poroshenko called the situation a “humanitarian disaster.”

It was not, however, a unique situation.

During 43 months of constant combat, combined Russian-separatist forces have often fired artillery and rockets at other power plants in the war zone. And Russian cyberattacks have repeatedly targeted Ukraine’s power grids well beyond the front lines—including in Kyiv.

Power lines leading to the combined Russian-separatist stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Collectively, these attacks underscore Russia’s strategy to target Ukraine’s energy economy and infrastructure with both conventional military attacks and cyberwarfare to exert diplomatic pressure on Kyiv.

Such attacks, when they affect the day-to-day lives of normal Ukrainians, play into Russia’s ultimate ambition in Ukraine, which is to delegitimize the ruling government and to spread chaos.

The energy economy has also become a domestic political liability for Kyiv.

Last winter, Ukrainian political activists and volunteer battalion soldiers established a rail blockade in eastern Ukraine, cutting off the shipment of goods from the separatist territories into the rest of the country, including coal deliveries.

The blocked coal shipments spurred an energy crisis in February that led lawmakers in Kyiv to declare a national state of emergency.

Piece of the Pie

In January 2009, Russia cut its gas exports to Europe through Ukraine, plunging the Continent into an energy crisis almost overnight. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was then Russia’s prime minister, ordered Russian energy company Gazprom to cut its exports through Ukrainian pipelines by about three-fifths. The move came amid one of the lowest recorded winter temperatures in London in a century, sparking fears of a sharp increase in oil and gas prices.

In 2014, the year Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and launched its proxy war in Ukraine’s coal-rich Donbas region, global oil prices fell from more than $100 a barrel to below $50 a barrel.

At that time, approximately 60 percent of Russia’s government revenue came from taxes on oil and gas exports. And about 80 percent of the gas Russia sent to Europe went through Ukraine’s pipelines.

In 2014, as the military conflict in the Donbas escalated, Russia and Ukraine were also locked in an energy dispute, with Russia threatening to cut off gas to Ukraine unless Kyiv recouped its debts to Moscow. In return, Kyiv threatened to block Russian oil and gas from reaching Europe.

Winter on the front lines in eastern Ukraine.

Last year, the Russian energy company Gazprom used Ukrainian pipelines to deliver about 46 percent of the gas it sent to Europe, according to Naftogaz, the national oil and gas company of Ukraine.

To bypass Ukraine, Russia is pushing to build the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany along a pre-existing pipeline route.

If realized, Nord Stream 2 would be an economic body blow to Ukraine.

“Nord Stream 2 would decrease gas transit through Ukraine and cost Ukraine up to $2.7 billion in lost revenues, or almost 3 percent of [gross domestic product] every year,” U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch said at an energy forum in Kyiv in October.

U.S. sanctions on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine have hindered financing for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The Russian oil company Gazprom has a majority-financing stake in the project.

Russia is also working on another route into Europe through Turkey and the Black Sea.

Flashpoint?

Control over hydrocarbon reserves in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov are another potential flashpoint for Russo-Ukrainian relations—which, some say, could escalate the simmering military conflict into a wider war.

In 2013, the year prior to the war, Ukrainian energy firms in Crimea extracted 1.651 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Ukraine’s Black Sea and Sea of Azov basins. That extraction rate was projected to increase to about 5 billion cubic meters annually—still only a fraction of what the region could potentially produce, according to a 2017 report by the National Institute for Strategic Studies of Ukraine.

Battle damage at a gas station in eastern Ukraine.

That was all lost when Russia invaded and seized Crimea in 2014. Additionally, Ukraine lost control of 10 stationary sea extraction platforms, four drilling rigs, 1,200 kilometers of pipelines, and 45 gas distribution stations.

Altogether, the loss of Crimea’s offshore energy extraction infrastructure cost the Ukrainian economy about $300 billion, the report said.

There are approximately 7 trillion cubic meters of methane hydrate deposits within Ukrainian waters in the Black Sea. And, according to a 2010 U.S. Geological Survey study, there are an estimated 218 million barrels of recoverable crude oil and 4,093 billion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas in the Sea of Azov, on which Russia and Ukraine both have coastlines.

“Competing energy claims in these areas might be a minor part of a new casus belli, but not the main ones,” Blank said. “The issue is Ukraine’s sovereignty and integrity, not energy.”

Portrait of Nolan Peterson

Nolan Peterson

Nolan Peterson, a former special operations pilot and a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, is The Daily Signal’s foreign correspondent based in Ukraine. Send an email to Nolan. Twitter: @nolanwpeterson

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

A Champagne Toast to America’s withdrawal from the UN Paris Climate Accord

CFACT joined a champagne toast to America’s withdrawal from the UN’s Paris Climate Accord at the EIKE scientific conference in Dusseldorf.

Conference-goers are united in their conviction that the UN imposes massive economic and political costs upon developed nations that cannot be justified by the benefits, of which there may be none, flowing from the pact.

Over in Bonn, left-wing NGOs and developing nations are back to agitating for wealthy nations to pick up the tab for “loss and damage” suffered by poor countries when extreme weather strikes.  That today’s weather would be the same whether people drive cars and use electricity, or not, does not enter into it.  They’re not having much success.

President Trump’s American delegation joined with the EU and Australia in blocking an effort of “like-minded” nations led by China and India to impose new obligations before Paris kicks in in 2020.

If the COP adopts new emissions reductions and financial obligations, China and India and their cohorts would be conveniently exempt.  The UN calls this “differentiated responsibilities.”  We call it madness, considering that it is China, India and the rest that are opening new coal plants and increasing their CO2 emissions (if that’s your thing) as fast as their economies will allow.

Here in Dusseldorf, delegates from various European countries all report a common experience.  The global warming mindset in Europe, though still overwhelming, is weakening.  More people are learning the facts about the warming campaign and the media is loosening up and allowing more skeptical voices to be heard.

If truly all voices could be heard, especially those of climate realists, UN global warming policy would collapse in ruins.  Not only does it get the science wrong, but the “solutions” it demands are expensive wastes that solve nothing.

Europeans are steadily joining the ranks of the Americans who have figured this out.

Once you’ve seen that the emperor has no clothes it’s almost impossible to “unsee” it.