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‘Will Not Fix The Problem’: Biden Releasing Oil Reserves Due To Politics, Critics Say

  • President Joe Biden’s decision to tap the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) was derided by top GOP lawmakers and experts who said the move was political and won’t move the needle on gasoline prices.
  • “Even if the economic reality of five or maybe 10 cents a gallon of short term impact isn’t that big of a deal, doing nothing might look like a really big political problem,” Kevin Book, a National Petroleum Council member and managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
  • The federal government will release 32 million barrels of oil from the SPR and accelerate the release of 18 million barrels that had already been congressionally mandated, the White House announced Tuesday.
  • “This very temporary measure is not going to solve the supply issue at the pump nor is it a solution to gas prices that have doubled in the last year,” Rep. Fred Upton, the top Republican on a House energy subcommittee, told the DCNF.

President Joe Biden’s decision to tap the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) was derided by top GOP lawmakers and experts who said the move was political and won’t move the needle on gasoline prices.

The federal government will release 32 million barrels of oil from the SPR and accelerate the release of 18 million barrels that had already been congressionally mandated, the White House announced Tuesday. Biden’s move to release crude oil from the nation’s emergency reserves was made alongside China, India, Japan, South Korea and the U.K., marking the first internationally coordinated release of emergency oil reserves.

However, experts suggested that the action was likely a political reaction to ever-rising prices at the pump and said it wouldn’t have a significant long term effect.

“It’s possible to say, ‘okay, this is something that politically, if not economically, requires intervention.’ The problem might be that, actually they started talking about doing something back in August,” Kevin Book, a National Petroleum Council member and managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The White House was aware of these rising prices and concerned about them, and started taking steps towards intervention and created an expectation for intervention,” he continued. “So, even if the economic reality of five or maybe 10 cents a gallon of short term impact isn’t that big of a deal, doing nothing might look like a really big political problem.”

Book added that the release would have a minimal effect on oil prices, which had already declined over the last several weeks as reports of such a move became public. The price of oil is expected to decrease in the next couple of months due to normal seasonal market fluctuations, according to Book.

A Goldman Sachs report published last week echoed Book’s comments, arguing that tapping the SPR is a “short-term fix to a structural deficit” and was already priced-in to the market. Oil prices may even increase more than expected due to the move, the report concluded.

Biden even acknowledged that he doesn’t have a near-term fix for higher prices and that tapping reserves would barely have an effect during a CNN town hall in October. His administration has mulled an SPR release for months.

But, like Book, Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute Senior Vice President Christopher Guith said Tuesday that the White House should focus on long term policies rather than “ineffectual band aids.”

‘A cynical move’

Biden, meanwhile, has faced heavy criticism for his administration’s anti-fossil fuel actions, which include revoking the Keystone XL pipeline permit and banning new oil and gas leases on federal lands. While the president has set ambitious clean energy goals, gasoline prices have risen to their highest level in nearly a decade, government data showed.

Gas prices are tightly tied to the price of crude oil.

“This very temporary measure is not going to solve the supply issue at the pump nor is it a solution to gas prices that have doubled in the last year,” Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, the top Republican on a House energy subcommittee, told the DCNF.

The SPR was established in the 1970s as a tool to help the U.S. survive future energy crises where the global supply of oil dried up. The total inventory is estimated at around 604 million barrels of oil which is kept in deep underground storage caverns in Texas and Louisiana.

The last time the U.S. tapped the SPR was in 2011 when former President Barack Obama ordered a strategic release amid the Libyan civil war, a move that disrupted the Middle Eastern nation’s oil exports.

“President Biden’s policies are hiking inflation and energy prices for the American people,” Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member John Barrasso said in a statement. “Tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will not fix the problem.”

“We are experiencing higher prices because the administration and Democrats in Congress are waging a war on American energy,” he continued.

Dan Kish, a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, said the move was like someone eating everything from the pantry then “shooting the farmers.”

“This is a cynical move by a guy who’s done everything in his power to restrict production here at home and in North America,” Kish told the DCNF. “All the while watching Russia become our number two supplier of foreign oil.”

Kish noted that oil prices have increased since Biden announced the release, a sign that it would have little effect on gasoline prices.

Republican Whip Steve Scalise said the SPR is strictly for emergency purposes in response to a question from the DCNF during an October roundtable. If Biden wanted to lower prices, he would make it easier for firms to drill and construct domestic pipelines, the Louisiana Republican added.

“The SPR is not to be used as a piggy bank just to bail you out when your failed policies create higher gas prices,” Scalise said.

“The answer is very straightforward and it’s right under our feet,” he continued. “Instead of trying to drain what’s left of our reserves, we ought to be producing more energy and creating more jobs here in America to take leverage away from OPEC countries and to take leverage away from Russia.”

COLUMN BY

THOMAS CATENACCI

Energy and environment reporter. Follow Thomas on Twitter

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Navajo Nation Slams Biden Oil Drilling Ban, Says White House Violated ‘Tribal Sovereignty’

The Navajo Nation criticized the Biden administration for banning oil and gas leasing on a large swath of New Mexico land that supported much of its community.

The tribe argued that President Joe Biden failed to properly consult it before issuing the sweeping order earlier this week. Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced Monday that the federal government would review a new rule prohibiting oil and gas leasing within the 10-mile radius around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwest New Mexico for 20 years.

Biden made the announcement during the White House Tribal Nations Summit and said the ban would “protect” the more than 200,000 acres of tribal lands covered by the rule.

“The Biden Administration bypassed previous requests to Congress for field hearings and for leaders to hear directly from our Navajo families affected in the Chaco Canyon region,” Navajo Nation Council Speaker Seth Damon said in a statement Tuesday. “It is important that the federal government consider and work with our Navajo allottees to further advance development.”

“The Administration must respect our tribal sovereignty and what the government to government relationship entails,” Damon continued.

The Navajo Nation previously opposed the ban proposed by the Biden administration, instead advocating for a 5-mile radius around the historic site, according to Damon. Fossil fuel companies return an estimated $90 million per year to Navajo mineral owners, a sum that helps support the largely low-income community, a watchdog report concluded in 2017.

“The White House is ignoring the will of the Navajo Nation, which voted overwhelmingly to support a five-mile buffer that would protect the park while enabling Navajo mineral owners to access their prime oil resources,” Kathleen Sgamma, president of the fossil fuel industry group Western Energy Alliance, said in a statement. “Oil and natural gas development is already done in a way to protect cultural resources.”

Republicans also criticized the administration’s action, noting the indirect harm it would do to Navajo families.

“In the Biden administration’s desperate attempts to appease radical environmentalists, however, they are expanding that protected perimeter to miles outside the park, jeopardizing the ability of Navajo allottees to develop their mineral rights,” House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman said in a statement.

Westerman added that the historic park is already protected.

COLUMN BY

THOMAS CATENACCI

Energy and environment reporter. Follow Thomas on Twitter

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Oil Prices Surge Again After OPEC Ignores Biden


Oil prices surged again Friday after foreign producers ignored the Biden administration’s repeated requests to boost output and resolve global shortages.

U.S. crude oil surpassed $80 per barrel while the lead foreign index broke $81 per barrel, both rising more than 1.5% compared to one day earlier, on Friday morning, according to the latest data. The Middle Eastern cartel Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its Russian counterpart, collectively known as OPEC+, rebuked the Biden administration Thursday and chose not to alter previously announced plans.

“If you take a look at, you know, gas prices and you take a look at oil prices, that is a consequence of, thus far, the refusal of Russia or the OPEC nations to pump more oil,” President Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday.

Biden and top White House officials have asked OPEC and Russia for more oil and gas multiple times since August as energy prices have skyrocketed. But the administration has also taken steps to increase the hurdles for U.S. producers to increase domestic output. Senior Wall Street energy analyst Edward Moya said OPEC+ had an “easy and quick” meeting Thursday, barely even considering Biden’s repeated requests, Reuters reported.

“At no point did OPEC+ consider changing their output strategy, which was completely the message they had,” Moya told Reuters.

Republican lawmakers have amped up their attacks on the president’s energy policies, saying his decision to hamstring American oil and gas firms is negatively impacting American consumers.

“There’s nothing that’s becoming more expensive than gasoline today,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said during a recent roundtable on Capitol Hill. “And it doesn’t have to be the case. When gasoline becomes more expensive, the people that it truly hurts are those that are less fortunate.”

Nearly 20 Republican senators wrote to Biden on Friday, urging him to take immediate action to ease the burden on Americans paying more at the pump. A separate group of GOP senators released a comprehensive climate action plan Wednesday countering Democratic climate and prioritizing U.S. energy independence.

COLUMN BY

THOMAS CATENACCI

Energy and environmental reporter. Follow Thomas on Twitter.

RELATED ARTICLE: White House Adviser Says There’s An ‘Energy Crisis,’ Doubles Down On Calls For Boosted Foreign Oil, Gas Production

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Biden’s handlers import oil from Iran for only the second time since 1991, ignoring sanctions

UPDATE: AP has details that make Biden’s handlers not look so bad at least in this case:

US sells off Iranian crude oil seized off coast of UAE

by Jon Gambrell, Associated Press, May 31, 2021:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The U.S. has sold some 2 million barrels of Iranian crude oil after seizing an oil tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, court documents and government statistics show.

The Iranian crude oil showed up in new figures released over the weekend by the U.S. Energy Information Agency, raising the eyebrows of commodities traders as Tehran remains targeted by a series of American sanctions. The EIA figures included just over 1 million barrels of Iranian “crude oil imports” in March.

The oil came from the MT Achilleas, a ship seized in February by the U.S. off the coast of the Emirati port city of Fujairah. U.S court documents allege the Achilleas was subject to forfeiture under American anti-terrorism statues as Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard tried to use it to sell crude oil to China. The U.S. has identified the Guard as a terrorist organization since the administration of former President Donald Trump.

Prosecutors say shippers tried to disguise the shipment by labeling it as “Basra light crude” from neighboring Iraq.

The U.S. government brought the Achilleas to Houston, Texas, where it sold the just over 2 million barrels of crude oil within it for $110 million, or at around $55 a barrel, court documents show. The money will be held in escrow amid a court case over it….

Original post:

Biden’s handlers’ stance toward Iran is predicated on the assumption that the mullahs will respond in kind to gestures of good will. This is an erroneous assumption. The mullahs will see Biden’s handlers’ appeasement efforts as signs of weakness, and become increasingly aggressive.

U.S. imports rare Iranian oil in March despite sanctions – EIA data

Reuters, May 30, 2021:

SINGAPORE — The United States imported a rare cargo of 1.033 million barrels of Iranian crude in March despite sanctions on Iran’s energy sector, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed.

The cargo is only the second oil import by the United States from Iran since late 1991, data on EIA’s website showed….

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

‘Social Cost of Carbon’ Nonsense

American oil, coal and natural gas are abundant, affordable and efficient, so naturally the anti-energy Left hates them.

Fossil fuels keep the lights on, transportation moving, and our houses warm, all at less cost and a tiny fraction of the land required for inefficient wind and solar.  The math is not on the side of wind and solar.

That’s why the Obama Administration went all-in on a construct called the “social cost of carbon” (SCC).  Joe Biden brought it back “on day one.”  Think of it as politically correct math.

David Wojick lays out a devastating case at CFACT.org:

The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) has been around for some time. Obama introduced it as a policy measure, which Trump then canceled. Now Biden has brought it back and made it worse.

In a way SCC personifies the craziness of the climate scare. The whole scare is based on outlandish doomsday computer models and SCC is arguably the most absurd of all.

CFACT senior policy analyst Paul Driessen posted a rundown on the arbitrariness of “social cost” math to CFACT.org:

The price tag was set at $22/ton in 2010, raised to $36/ton in 2013, and just as arbitrarily increased to $40, before finishing the Obama era at $51/ton. President Trump disbanded the Interagency Working Group on carbon costs and had the SCC slashed to less than $10/ton. Within hours of taking office, President Biden resurrected the working group, reinstituted $51/ton as a starting point, and directed federal agencies to devise a definitive SCC by 2022…

The SCC enables agencies and their allies to attach any price they wish to every conceivable cost of using fossil fuels: hotter and colder, wetter and drier climate and weather; more frequent and intense hurricanes; reduced agricultural output; forest health and wildfires; floods, droughts and water resources; “forced migration” of people and wildlife;  worsening health and disease; flooded coastal cities; even “reduced student learning and worker productivity,” due to warmer planetary temperatures.

The SCC also lets practitioners completely ignore the obvious and enormous benefits of using fossil fuels, and emitting carbon dioxide – such as enhanced productivity via affordable air conditioning in summer and heating in winter; improved forest, grassland and crop growth (and greening deserts) due to more CO2 in the air; greater home and human survival rates amid extreme weather events; and having the jobs, mobility, living standards, healthcare and longevity of modern industrialized life.

In fact, hydrocarbon and carbon dioxide benefits outweigh costs by 50:1, 400:1 or even 500:1!

That’s right, the benefits of oil, gas and coal to society outweigh the costs!

How’s that for an inconvenient truth?

P.S.  Don’t forget that CO2 and carbon are not the same.  Carbon is the incredibly versatile element, that as Carl Sagan pointed out years ago, “likes to combine.”  You’re made of it.  Carbon dioxide is what you get when a carbon molecule combines with two molecules of oxygen.  CO2 is the odorless, invisible gas you just exhaled.

EDITORS NOTE: This CFACT column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Biden KILLS pipelines at home but promotes them for Taliban terrorists

This tells you everything about the ongoing coup against America from within.

Biden kills pipelines at home but promotes them for the Taliban

By Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner | February 08, 2021:

On his first day in office, President Biden canceled permits for the Keystone XL pipeline. Environmentalists and anti-fossil fuel activists should not have applauded his move.

After all, Canada will not stop extracting oil from the tar sands of northern Alberta. Instead, it will simply export oil over existing pipelines or to the Pacific Ocean, where the damage from a potential spill would be harder to address. Biden’s cancellation cost jobs and pushes Canada toward greater economic cooperation with China. It also shakes confidence in U.S. business. Who would invest in the country if any future administration can simply renege on deals with the stroke of a pen? Especially, that is, when the investments involved here reach into the billions of dollars?

Biden’s move was both political theater and an indulgence of his liberal base. But his hypocrisy was stunning even for a politician who has spent a half-century in Washington. Consider that while the Biden administration is killing a pipeline from which the public could benefit, Biden is promoting a pipeline to enrich both one of the world’s worst dictatorships and a group responsible for thousands of U.S. deaths.

The government has apparently brokered a meeting between the Turkmenistan government and the Taliban for a trans-Afghanistan pipeline to bring Turkmen gas across Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. If this scheme sounds familiar, it should: It was the same deal that now-Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad sought to make with the Taliban in the years before the Sept. 11 terror attacks when he was a consultant for the Unocal Corporation.

Khalilzad’s scheme was bad policy two decades ago, and it is even worse now.

Put aside environmental arguments and consider profit. Freedom House’s latest Freedom in the World report ranks Turkmenistan as among the world’s worst offenders, below even North Korea in terms of freedom and civil liberties. To promote the export of Turkmen gas is to entrench its regime even further. Part of the deal is then paying the Taliban protection money or transit fees for the pipeline transiting Afghan territory. Not only would this undermine the elected Afghanistan government even further, but it would also reward the Taliban for insurgency to the tune of tens of millions of dollars each month. Who needs Russian bounties on U.S. soldiers when the State Department has crafted a scheme to reward the Taliban beyond their wildest dreams?

One issue here is Khalilzad’s penchant for using diplomacy as a stepping stone to cut side deals. But the other issue is U.S. strategic interests. Perhaps a misunderstanding of the Taliban agenda was an excuse 20 years ago. It should not be one now. If the Biden administration says no to pipeline jobs in the Midwest, it should not then turn around and help enrich the Taliban to ship Turkmen gas to the Indian Ocean. It is time for Secretary of State Antony Blinken to call his envoy, end this hypocrisy, and to stop coddling some of the world’s most anti-American movements.

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Quick note: Tech giants are snuffing us out. You know this. Facebook, Twitter, Google et al have shadowbanned, suspended and in some cases deleted us from your news feeds. They are disappearing us. But we are here. Subscribe to Geller Report newsletter here— it’s free and it’s critical NOW more than ever.

Saudi Oil Field Crisis

The conflict in the Middle East, among Shiites and Sunnis goes back to the time of prophet Muhammad himself.

When prophet Muhammad died, the infighting started in earnest among the various factions. Each demanding Bay’a (pledge of allegiance) with another clan. People jockeyed for power and did their Muslim-best to destroy their competition. Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law was elbowed out of the way by the more powerful disciples of the prophet and had to wait his turn to head the already fractured and feuding Ummah. Several of the faithful resented the fact that Ali was not allowed to take over the leadership. Some felt victimized by Umar and his powerful conspirators and hated Ali for not standing and fighting like a man. Some real stand-and-fight Muslims decided that Ali should be punished and he was knifed to death on his way to the mosque

The death of Ali was the real stirring of the hornet’s nest, so to speak. All kinds of power struggle, infighting and bloodletting started among the followers of the religion of peace. To cut to the chase, the conflict in the Middle East has been ongoing and has not been settled. Most likely, it will never be settled.

To fully comprehend the scope of this new development in the Middle East and point fingers as to who is responsible for the Saudi oil field attacks, we need to understand their involvement and invasion against the Shiite Houthi insurgency in Yemen. In March 2015 when a Saudi Arabia-led alliance of ten mostly Arab states launched an operation of air strikes against the Houthis, this clash began. Saudi Arabia, considers the Houthis rebels as an Iranian proxy, therefore, they are doing everything within their power to counter the Islamic Republic’s influence.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), titled, Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention has shed some light on a very convoluted issue. This report offers information and data about the continuing dilemma in Yamen.

According to this report:

“Overall, after five years of military operations against the Yemeni government and Saudi-led coalition, it would appear that the Houthis are better equipped with sophisticated weaponry than in previous conflicts against its rivals. According to one observer, “We have witnessed a massive increase in capability on the side of the Houthis in recent years, particularly relating to ballistic missiles and drone technology…. The current capability is far more advanced than anything the Yemeni armed forces had before the civil war.” In July 2019, the Houthis publicly displayed cruise missiles and UAVs in their arsenal and, according to one analysis, the Houthis are “revealing capabilities that Iran has been developing secretly for years.”

In May 2019, the Houthi faction declared they would target both the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s vulnerable facilities. Because the Houthis are supported by the Islamic regime in Iran, all the fingers are pointed at the Iranian regime.

According to Thomas Juneau of International Affairs:

“The Houthis, however, are not Iranian proxies; Tehran’s influence in Yemen is marginal. The civil war in Yemen is driven first and foremost by local and political factors, and is neither an international proxy war nor a sectarian confrontation. It is primarily a domestic conflict, driven by local grievances and local competition for power and resources.”

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a leading state sponsor of terrorism worldwide. There is no doubt that the Islamic regime supports and finances many proxies in the region. There is also no question that the Iranian people have been experiencing Islamic justice by being arrested, raped, maimed and murdered for the crimes they have never committed. The wanton Islamic Republic of Iran has been at a murder and mayhem path for decades encouraged by an appeasing world.

Just a few reminders: The murderous villains took the life of several thousand Americans during the Iraq conflict without being punished for it. More recently they downed an American drone in the international air space without even getting a slap on their long blood-stained wrist. Then, they started piracy in the Persian Gulf. Nothing happened.

That said, yet, there are some diehard (MEK) Mujahidin Khalgh supporters who are pushing the US to go to war with Iran on behalf of the Saudis. Saudi Arabia started a war in Yemen that they cannot win. The Islamic Republic is facing serious setbacks with sanctions. It is just a matter of time for the regime to fall. The situation inside Iran is dire indeed.

Saudi Arabia is not our friend. In fact, they are America’s greatest nightmare. They are involved in all aspects of American life in the US and “Estimates are that the Saudis fund up to 80% of American mosques.” Let that sink in.

© All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLE: Trump Hints at New Iran Sanctions, Prefers to Avoid ‘Ultimate Option’ of War

The Connection Between Russia and 2 Green Groups Fighting Fracking in U.S.

New Yorkers who are missing out on the natural gas revolution could be victims of Russian spy operations that fund popular environmental groups, current and former U.S. government officials and experts on Russia worry.

Natural gas development of the celebrated Marcellus Shale deposits has spurred jobs and other economic growth in neighboring Pennsylvania. But not in New York, which nearly 10 years ago banned the process of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, to produce natural gas.

Two environmental advocacy groups that successfully lobbied against fracking in New York each received more than $10 million in grants from a foundation in California that got financial support from a Bermuda company congressional investigators linked to the Russians, public documents show.

The environmental groups Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club Foundation received millions of dollars in grants from the San Francisco-based Sea Change Foundation.

“Follow the money trail, and this [New York] ban on fracking could be viewed as an example of successful Russian espionage,” Ken Stiles, a CIA veteran of 29 years who now teaches at Virginia Tech, told The Daily Signal.

To Stiles and other knowledgeable observers, this looks like an actual case of knowing or unknowing collusion with Russia.

Both Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club Foundation also accepted tens of millions from the Energy Foundation, the top recipient of grants from Sea Change, according to foundation and tax records.

When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, renewed his state’s ban on fracking three years ago, the Natural Resources Defense Council issued a statement supporting the ban. So did the Sierra Club, the primary recipient of grants from its sister organization, the Sierra Club Foundation.

Environmental activists associated with the groups receiving Sea Change Foundation grants continued to pressure Cuomo and other public officials to maintain and expand New York’s fracking ban.

Most recently, the two environmental groups scored another victory when the Delaware River Basin Commission, an interstate regulatory agency that includes the governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, proposed a ban on fracking within the Delaware River Basin cutting across all four states.

The Sierra Club and the Natural Resource Defense Council have pressed the regional commission to impose the ban, issuing statements (here and here) calling for  restrictions that are tighter than what the commission proposed.

PennEast Pipeline Co. is set to begin construction on a 120-mile-long pipeline to transport natural gas from the Marcellus Shale across Eastern Pennsylvania into New Jersey. In a new public relations campaign, PennEast asks New Jersey residents if they would rather obtain their energy from Pennsylvania or Russia.

PennEast cites media reports describing how anti-pipeline policies in Massachusetts forced the state into a position where it had to rely on Russian imports of liquified natural gas during peak cold periods this past winter.

The Russian Money Trail

Government officials and environmental leaders have a responsibility to track the money, Stiles, the former CIA officer, told The Daily Signal in an interview.

“The Russians are very adept and skilled at making long-term investments,” Stiles said. “They sit back very patiently to see how their funding can pay off over a period of many years.”

Stiles added:

Whether these environmental groups realize it or not, they could be operating as what we [in the CIA] call ‘agents of influence.’ By working to block natural gas production, environmental activists are advancing policies that work to the advantage of Russia and to the disadvantage of America and America’s allies.

Logo of the Natural Resources Defense Council

Karen Moreau, who is in charge of the New York office of the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association for gas and oil companies, argues that the resulting policy hurts state residents and businesses.

“New York remains at a disadvantage because other states are not just more pro-energy, they are more pro-business and therefore pipelines that could have been constructed in New York taking gas from the Marcellus Shale are instead moving south, not north,” Moreau told The Daily Signal.

“The manufacturing renaissance that is taking place in this country thanks to the president’s policies is not happening in states like New York,” she said.

A senior adviser to the State Department told a recent conference that Trump administration policies supporting energy dominance could help the U.S. eclipse the amount of natural gas Russia exports to the European Union.

The Daily Signal unsuccessfully sought comment from the Sierra Club Foundation and its affiliate the Sierra Club, as well as Natural Resources Defense Council and Sea Change Foundation, on the allegations of Russian financial support for environmentalists’ anti-fracking and anti-pipeline campaigns.

The Marcellus Shale is a geological formation of sedimentary rock with large deposits of natural gas that cuts across southwestern New York, northern and western Pennsylvania, western Ohio, most of West Virginia, and small portions of Kentucky and Tennessee.

The U.S. Geological Survey determined that the Marcellus Shale contains “about 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 3.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids.”

Since the U.S. is now the top producer of natural gas in the world, and well positioned to export liquefied natural gas across the globe, Russia recognizes it gradually could lose influence in parts of the world where Moscow has been the dominant supplier of oil and gas, Stiles said in a phone interview.

“America’s natural gas revolution has huge geopolitical ramifications, so Russia’s motivation to try to block our natural gas development is easy to understand,” the CIA veteran said. “If you are worried about the Russian bear rearing its ugly head in the next several years, the way to stop that and put it back into its cage is to cut it off at the knees financially.”

“That’s what natural gas pipelines are all about and that’s what fracking is all about. We are providing affordable energy to average Americans at home and our allies overseas.”

The Sierra Club Foundation’s logo

US Gains in Market

In the fracking technique applied to shale formations, engineers inject water mixed with sand and chemicals into a well at high pressure, producing a fluid that fractures the rock and releases trapped oil or natural gas.

Environmentalists continue to challenge fracking, arguing among other things that it contaminates well water.

The natural gas import-export equation has changed radically in the past few years, with trends pointing to the U.S. becoming a net exporter.

Richard Westerdale, the senior adviser with the State Department, made this point in November during the Heartland Institute’s America First Energy Conference in Houston, Texas.

“By 2020, the U.S. will be approaching nearly 100 billion cubic meters in [liquefied natural gas] exports,” Westerdale said in a presentation. “It’s simply amazing to me to think that back in 2010, we were building [liquefied natural gas] import terminals.”

As natural gas markets become increasingly competitive, the “world wins,” he added, since “well-functioning markets reinforce global energy security, foster economic growth and commercial interests abroad, and, depending upon how host countries choose to use [natural gas resources], it can in fact enhance environmental stewardship.”

In three of the first five months of 2017, U.S. natural gas exports were greater than imports, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The most recent available data shows that U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas increased for the duration of 2017 as new facilities went operational.

Logo of Sea Change Foundation

What Consumers Know

Stiles, who teaches espionage and national security issues in Virginia Tech’s geography department, defines espionage, or spying, as “an operation that is planned and executed as to conceal the identity of, or permit plausible denial by, the sponsor.”

One way for Moscow to conceal its sponsorship of anti-fracking campaigns in New York or elsewhere in the U.S. is to move its funding indirectly and anonymously through various entities, the former CIA analyst told The Daily Signal.

“I think the groups and individuals on both sides of the debate over fracking and pipelines have a tendency to just look in their own back yards, without looking at the larger geopolitical picture,” Stiles said. “If it was more widely known that anti-fracking, anti-pipeline operations may be benefitting from a foreign source of funding, this would certainly impact the debate.”

The agents of influence described by Stiles range from “controlled agents” and “trusted contacts” who know they’re working for a foreign government to “manipulated sources” who have no idea that they’re doing the bidding of a foreign power.

The former CIA analyst said he is inclined to characterize environmental activists who received Russian funding through indirect channels, such as Sea Change or the Energy Foundation, as manipulated sources.

Stiles calls on the leadership of environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, which accepted large amounts through such channels, to start asking hard questions.

“It’s either a lack of due diligence or incompetence, or they may actually know something about a particular donor, but they don’t want to ask that question,” Stiles said. “I tend to think the issue is more that they are just not looking the gift horse in the mouth, and they are just taking the money.”

Energy Foundation’s logo

Paperless Money Trail

Sea Change Foundation, a family charity, is identified in congressional reports and correspondence as a major incubator of funding from foreign sources, including Russia. That money ends up in the coffers of U.S. environmental groups opposed to natural gas development and drilling techniques such as fracking that make that development possible.

Nathaniel Simons and his wife, Laura Baxter-Simons, established Sea Change Foundation in 2006. Simons is the son of James Simons, founder of the New York-based Renaissance Technologies hedge fund firm.

Sea Change, according to its website, works to “address the serious threats posed by global climate change,” focusing on “climate change mitigation and clean energy policy in the United States and internationally.”

In July 2014, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released a report describing how a Bermuda-based company, Klein Ltd., “was set up for the sole purpose of funneling anonymous donations to Sea Change.”

Bermuda law permits Klein Ltd. to conceal foreign sources of funding, the report explains.

“It appears that Klein exists on paper only, as it does not have an internet presence, and was set up for the sole purpose of funneling anonymous donations to Sea Change,” the report says.

Subsequent investigations building on the findings of the Senate committee—including that of the Washington-based Environmental Policy Alliance—established a connection between Wakefield Quin, the law firm that set up Klein, and top Kremlin officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Lawyers and others at Wakefield Quin have been associated with Russian energy companies and worked with Leonid Reiman, a former Russian minister of telecommunications and longtime Putin ally, these investigations found.

Environmental Policy Alliance, which opposes the agenda of liberal green groups, is affiliated with Washington lobbyist Rick Berman and his Berman & Co. public affairs firm.

Sea Change has not responded directly to The Daily Signal in the past, and did not respond for this report.

In an email to Salon, however, the foundation in July 2017 acknowledged receiving financial support from Klein, saying it accepted the company’s grant money as “general support” with no proviso that it be used for specific programs.

Response From Klein Ltd.

In an email to The Daily Signal, Roderick M. Forrest, a Wakefield Quin lawyer representing Klein Ltd., described allegations against his Bermuda-based client as “completely false and irresponsible.” Klein, he said, “has no Russian connection whatsoever.”

Forrest made similar assertions in an email to The Washington Times in July 2017.

The Daily Signal had sought the law firm’s comment on allegations of Russian funding of U.S. environmental groups and Klein’s alleged role in easing movement of Russian funds to the Sea Change Foundation.

“Our firm has represented Klein since its inception,” Forrest said in the email, “and we can state categorically that at no point did this philanthropic organization receive or expend funds from Russian sources or Russian-connected sources and Klein has no Russian connection whatsoever.”

The lawyer for Klein added:

Attorneys, law firms, financial institutions and all other companies based in Bermuda operate under a regulatory and anti-money laundering regime which applies standards which are amongst the highest in the world. Illicit movement of funds falls well below such standards and any informed party would understand that, not only is there no substance or truth to such allegations in this case, the allegations appear to be intended to damage the reputation of the Bermuda-based individuals and businesses named.

Bermuda and the U.S. have in place an information exchange framework under which the U.S. government, its regulators and law enforcement agencies have access to all information concerning financial transactions in Bermuda and by Bermuda entities. Through this framework, information is available to such proper authorities, enabling them to be satisfied as to the probity of any alleged payments.

Julie Hill, a professor at University of Alabama School of Law with expertise in regulation of financial institutions, told The Daily Signal that it is not “as easy as it was at one time to engage in money laundering” in places such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

That’s because monetary authorities now collect more information from companies than they did previously, Hill said.

“This information is not made public, but it can be given to foreign governments,” Hill said in an interview, adding:

The advantage in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands now would be more in terms of tax neutrality rather than anonymity. But it’s certainly true that various entities have in the past engaged in money laundering schemes in these locations, and the Russians would be part of this history. Today there are more barriers than in the past. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, it just means it’s harder.

‘Ripe for Investigation’

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, sent a letter in June to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying allegations of Russian financial support for U.S. environmental groups “are ripe for an investigation” by the Treasury Department.

In the letter, previously reported by The Daily Signal, Smith noted that Klein Ltd. and Wakefield Quin share the same Bermuda address “with more than 20 other companies” apparently run through the law firm.

A review of IRS 990 Forms shows that Klein contributed $23 million to Sea Change in 2010 and 2011, almost half of what the California foundation received in that time. The 990 forms indicate Sea Change then made grants concentrated on environmental advocacy groups.

From 2010  through 2015, the Sierra Club Foundation received more than $18 million from Sea Change and Natural Resources Defense Council received more than $15 million.

Both groups are on record opposing natural gas development in New York, and both are among the top 10 recipients of Sea Change grants, according to an analysis of foundation records.

The Energy Foundation, at $64 million, was the top recipient of Sea Change grants from 2010 through 2015, the most recent year for which 990s are available.

The 2014 Senate report describes the Energy Foundation as a “pass through” public charity that donates to environmental activist groups such as the Sierra Club Foundation and Natural Resources Defense Council.

The idea behind a “pass through” organization, according to the Senate report, is “to create the appearance of a more diversified base of support” and to “shield” donors from accountability.

Between 1998 and 2015, the Energy Foundation paid 30,178 grants to 12,058 recipients totaling more than $1.2 billion, records show. Grantees included environmental groups active in opposing natural gas development of the Marcellus Shale.

The top recipient was Natural Resources Defense Council, with more than $35 million. The Sierra Club Foundation received more than $16 million. (The council has $236.5 million in net assets, while the foundation has $113.2 million in net assets.)

Recalling Cold War History

Paul Kengor, a Grove City College political science professor who has researched the history of Moscow’s manipulation of U.S. political figures, told The Daily Signal that he sees an “old Cold War powder keg that went dry suddenly being reignited.”

“What makes the current situation more nefarious today is the possibility—if this is indeed accurate—of Russian manipulation of domestic groups inside the United States and the willful cooperation of those domestic environmentalists,” Kengor, a biographer of Ronald Reagan, said in an email, adding:

In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan had one heck of a time trying to enlist the support of our Western allies in blocking the Siberian gas pipeline in Russia. Even [British Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher balked; in fact, that’s an understatement: Thatcher was vehemently opposed because she wanted Britain to have the cheap Russian gas and wanted some British firms to have some of the construction contracts. The same was true for the West Germans and the French.

Ronald Reagan boldly proceeded almost alone in this effort in the 1980s. But here today … we have the extremely troubling possibility of our own U.S. citizens being targeted by the Russians for manipulation in undercutting our own domestic energy industry, our workers, and our citizens.

What stands out in terms of Cold War history and its relevance to contemporary questions of espionage is the role of Putin, warns Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, a Washington-based think tank that supports free market solutions to policy challenges.

“Putin, let’s not forget, is an old hand at using Western pressure groups to serve the Kremlin’s purposes,” Cohen said in an email.

“When, in the 1980s, the old Soviet Union was manipulating self-styled ‘peace groups’ in Western Europe and the U.S. in an effort to divide NATO and isolate the U.S., Putin was a mid-level KGB agent in East Germany.”

Cohen added:

Though that effort ultimately failed, Putin learned his lesson well. Then it was U.S. missiles to defend Western Europe that had to be demonized; today, it is U.S. oil and natural gas that are portrayed as a threat. In both cases, money changed hands, and scare tactics were the order of the day.

New Yorkers and High Energy Costs

New York residents continue to pay the price for Cuomo’s ban on drilling techniques that make it possible to access natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, laments Moreau, executive director of the American Petroleum Institute’s New York office.

“People who could have had inexpensive natural gas instead have had to pay very high electricity prices due to the cold snap this winter,” Moreau told The Daily Signal, “and many power generators were actually forced to burn oil instead of natural gas due to the constraints on natural gas.”

The 625 members of API, a national trade association, include major energy companies in the oil and gas industry.

Although New York is the fourth-largest consumer of natural gas in the nation, that natural gas primarily is imported from other states, Moreau said.

“If not for the pro-energy development policies of other states, New Yorkers would be bitterly freezing this winter,” she said.

The Daily Signal sought comment from Cuomo’s office to ask if the New York governor had concerns about allegations of Russian support for environmental groups active in his state. His office has not responded.

Cohen, of the National Center for Public Policy Research, said he sees a connection between Putin’s government in Moscow and influential U.S. environmental groups that is difficult to deny.

“The Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and other advocacy groups may have their own ‘green’ reasons for opposing America’s realizing the energy potential of its abundant fossil fuels,” Cohen said in an email to The Daily Signal.  “At the same time, these groups know full well that they receive funding from the Sea Change Foundation and the Energy Foundation, both of which, according to a congressional report, are funded by Russian interests via a Bermuda-based shell company.”

Some green groups and Russia under Putin “have a common interest in demonizing fracking and related technologies that have tilted global energy markets in America’s favor,” Cohen said.

“Just as the shale revolution has been an economic godsend to millions of Americans, providing them with affordable electricity and transportation fuel, it has been a nightmare for Russia and environmental activists.”

Ken McIntyre contributed to this report.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Kevin Mooney

Kevin Mooney

Kevin Mooney is an investigative reporter for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Kevin. Twitter: @KevinMooneyDC.

RELATED ARTICLE: PennEast Pipeline Backers Tout Lower Energy Prices in Fighting Well-Funded Green Groups

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaking on Jan. 21st in Lower Manhattan, renewed a ban on fracking for natural gas in his state. (Photo: John Roca/Polaris/Newscom)

President Trump opens ‘all available’ Gulf of Mexico waters to oil drilling

“Opening more federal lands and waters to oil and gas drilling is a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy independent,” said Zinke.

And not only that: it will also cut off a great part of the funding for the global jihad, which goes from our gasoline money to oil-producing states, where all too much of it finds its way into the hands of the jihadists who have vowed to destroy the U.S. and the free world.

“Trump Opens ‘All Available’ Gulf Of Mexico Waters To Oil Drilling,” by Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, March 7, 2017:

The Department of the Interior will include “all available” federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico that have not already been leased out for offshore oil drilling.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced Monday 73 million acres off the coast of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida would be offered at a lease sale in August as part of the Interior Department’s five-year leasing plan.

“Opening more federal lands and waters to oil and gas drilling is a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy independent,” Zinke said in a statement.

Interior finalized its current five-year offshore leasing program in January, just before Trump took office. The current plan includes 11 potential lease sales — 10 in the Gulf of Mexico and one in Alaska’s Cook Inlet.

The Obama administration, however, did not include any lease sales in most of the Arctic Ocean and all of the Atlantic Ocean. The administration initially considered offshore drilling in those areas, but decided not to on the urging of environment groups.For now, it seems like the Trump administration will stick with current policies. that could possibly change one Secretary Zinke gets all his appointees in place. The Senate confirmed Zinke last week, and it’s unclear when they will hold confirmation hearings for other high-level Interior positions.

“The Gulf is a vital part of that strategy to spur economic opportunities for industry, states, and local communities, to create jobs and home-grown energy and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Zinke said….

Shortly before leaving office, former President Barack Obama locked up even more offshore areas from drilling, issuing an executive order in December making 31 canyons in the Atlantic off limits to drilling. The order took 3.8 million acres of the Atlantic ocean out of play for drillers.

In that same order, Obama designated “the vast majority of U.S. waters in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas as indefinitely off limits to offshore oil and gas leasing.”

Environmentalists supported keeping Arctic and Atlantic waters off limits to drilling. Activists say it’s necessary to protect marine life and slow global warming.

Trump, on the other hand, promised to boost U.S. energy production through opening more federal lands and waters for exploration and eliminating regulations. That includes rolling back Obama-era policies blocking offshore drilling.

“This is exactly the kind of investment, economic development and job creation that will help put Americans back to work,” Trump said of Exxon’s investments announced Monday….

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Carbon Dioxide is the ‘Elixir of Life’

Kevin Mooney in his column “Group Defends Carbon Dioxide as ‘Elixir of Life’ in Climate Change Debate” reports:

Forget everything government officials, many media outlets, and “activist scientists” have warned about the damaging effects of carbon dioxide, because in reality there’s no cause for alarm, a group called the CO2 Coalition urges.

Scientists, engineers, and policy analysts who are part of the nonprofit organization turned out in force Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, outside Washington.

“Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant, it is in fact the very elixir of life,” Craig Idso, a science adviser to the CO2 Coalition, said during a panel discussion at CPAC exploring the benefits attached to higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The CO2 Coalition, founded in 2015, describes its mission as “educating thought leaders, policymakers, and the public about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide to our lives and the economy.”

[ … ]

“Adding CO2 to the atmosphere enhances plant water use efficiency,” he said.

Increased levels of carbon dioxide could boost plant growth and make plants more resistant to droughts, he said. This could lead to increased food production, which in turn could offset projected food shortages.

Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore testified before the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee on February 25, 2014. During his statement for the record Dr. Moore said:

‘There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years.

‘Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species…It is “extremely likely” that a warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.’

Earth’s Geologic History Fails CO2 Fears: ‘The fact that we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming…When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this time. Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higher than today.’

Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore also stated that oil is the ‘most important source of energy to support our civilization.’ Dr. Moore said, “If it is the aim of ‘environmentalists’ to stop fossil fuel production and use, end fracking, end coal mining, end use of oil, then they are promoting a policy that would have disastrous consequences for human civilization & the environment. If we stopped using fossil fuel today, or by 2020 as Gore proposes, at least half the human population would perish & there wouldn’t be a tree left on planet within a year, as people struggled to find enough energy to stay alive…”

The New American (TNA) interviewed Princeton University Professor William Happer on the notion that CO2 is a pollutant and is the cause of climate change, formally known as global warming. TNA reports:

Physics Professor William Happer discredits the negative effects of CO2 on the planet and whether or not climate change is man-made. He also goes into detail of why the United Nation’s models are incorrect despite their overwhelming confidence that significant warming is taking place due to human activity.

John Casey, author and former NASA rocket scientist, has taught me three facts about the climate:

  1. The climate changes.
  2. The changes are cyclical.
  3. There is nothing mankind can do to change these natural cycles.

As John notes the only thing that mankind can do is prepare for these changes using good science and the best climate prediction tools to warn us of the coming changes.

End of story. Let the real science begin!

RELATED VIDEO: Tucker Carlson versus Bill Nye (Feb. 27, 2017).

The Human Flourishing Project — The ‘F’ Word

On the latest episode of Power Hour, I announce what I call The Human Flourishing Project — the first step of which is the new Human Flourishing Podcast. One of my advisors on the project and my co-host on the podcast is strategy guru Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach. He joins me on Power Hour to discuss how the project came to be and what we hope to accomplish with it.

Bottom line: I expect this project to both accelerate our impact on the energy debate and impact many other crucial debates, as well.

In October, 2016 I gave a speech to the Genius Network annual event in Arizona. It was about freedom and human flourishing. The event was $10K a person to attend and until now the full recording was only available to Genius Network members who pay $25K a year. But now it’s available on YouTube. It’s 12 minutes, maybe the best talk I’ve ever given. Please share it.

My favorite speech finally available — and it’s just 12 minutes:

EDITORS NOTE: Readers may enter in their email at HumanFlourishingMovement.com to get updates about the new project. Alex will be launching the new podcast by the beginning of February.

Muslim Brotherhood linked CAIR and ICNA oppose Dakota Access Pipeline

Two Muslim Brotherhood linked organizations, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) are vigorously opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Why would organizations that claim to defend Muslim civil rights oppose a pipeline that will help America’s economy and energy independence?

The Dakota Access Pipeline will deliver up to 570,000 barrels of oil per day from American oil fields to American refineries.  The pipeline will increase America’s energy independence and decrease the cost of fuel products.  See full report on Dakota Access Pipeline.

Energy Transfer Partners, the company handling the 1,172-mile and $3.78 billion project, had received all state and federal approvals except for a short section under the Missouri River in North Dakota.  However, mounting opposition alleging that the pipeline will ruin American Native sites and water quality influenced President Barack Obama to order the Army Corps of Engineers to halt construction on the pipeline to look for another route for the final part of the pipeline which goes under the Missouri River.   Eight other pipelines already cross the Missouri River.

The Council on American Islamic Relations opposes the Dakota Access Pipeline:

  • CAIR Oklahoma joined in the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline in October 2016.    CAIR Oklahoma press release states “Representatives from Council on American-Islamic Relations Oklahoma and Black Lives Matter were in attendance, expressing their support for indigenous communities and the struggles they face.”
  • CAIR Minnesota joined in the opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline in November 2016.
  • The Council on American Islamic Relations issued a press release on December 5, 2016 titled CAIR welcomes denial of easement for Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Islamic Circle of North America sent out the following email blast on December 1, 2016:

Take Action Today
Call President Obama & Governor of North Dakota!
Thursday, December 1, 2016

The case of water protectors in North Dakota is getting worse and worse by the day. The pipeline, which would carry oil from western North Dakota to Illinois, would cross the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The tribe — and the “water protectors” protesting alongside — say the pipeline would trammel on sacred lands and could contaminate the local drinking water supply if it leaks or ruptures. Stopping DAPL is a matter of climate justice and decolonization for indigenous peoples.

Police used a range of potentially lethal weapons against peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock: tear gas, rubber bullets, concussion grenades, mace, and water cannons. With temperatures well below freezing, the use of water cannons has afflicted many with hypothermia—not to mention the physical pain from being blasted with high-pressure water.
Let’s call President Obama and demand that he give an executive order to permanently stop the pipeline.

Let us also call the Governor of North Dakota, Jack Dalrymple, to not allow any blockage on food and supplies coming into the camp. On Tuesday, after the governor ordered the camp evacuated and a winter storm swept in, officials said they would begin blocking supplies.

The protesters vowed to stay put. In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers notified the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Friday that the public will not be allowed in areas being used to protest after December 5th and that anyone found on the property will be considered trespassing and subject to prosecution.

President Obama is acting on leftist politics to delay completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  The pipeline was supposed to be completed in December 2016.   Thankfully, President Elect Donald Trump supports that Dakota Access Pipeline.  However, liberal progressives are already asserting that Trump cannot take a position on the pipeline because he owns stock in Energy Transfer Partners who is developing the pipeline.

On November 28, 2016 North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple ordered the pipeline protesters to leave.  Two days later the Islamic Circle of North America sent out their call to action email targeting Governor Jack Dalrymple.

Florida Family Association has prepared an email to thank North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple for his efforts to put an end to this disruptive protest that is hindering America’s economy and energy independence.

To send your email, please click the below link, enter your name and email address then click the “Send Your Message” button. You may also edit the subject or message text if you wish.

Click here to send your email to thank North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple for his efforts to put an end to this disruptive protest that is hindering America’s economy and energy independence.

Contact information:

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple
governor@nd.gov

EDITORS NOTE: To learn more click here: Dakota Access Pipeline

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

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

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

Home Economics

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rule Writ Large — The Case of the Keystone Pipeline

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

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

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

Beyond the Pipeline

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

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

T. Norman Van CottT. Norman Van Cott

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

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

KEY TAKEAWAY: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Super PAC Helping Elect Republicans Supporting a Conservative Clean Energy Agenda

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

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

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

clearpat actionABOUT CLEARPATH ACTION

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

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