Finally, some good news about the economy, from an unlikely place: North Dakota. CNNMoney reported that while the United States' economy grew at less than 3 percent last year, North Dakota’s grew by more than 7 percent. And with national unemployment over 9 percent, in North Dakota it is just over 3 percent (and hasn’t touched 5 percent there in more than 20 years).
The prime driver is the discovery of vast untapped but recoverable oil reserves in the Bakken Formation, along with improved technology, which is allowing entrepreneurs to obtain access to it: fracing (or fracking). Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, explains: “North Dakota has a lot of untapped shale oil, and developing that field [has] attracted a lot of investment and a lot of employment into the state.”
The Bakken Formation is an oil shale deposit located two miles below ground, and reaches from western North Dakota into eastern Montana and up into Saskatchewan, Canada.
At a time when each day seems to bring more dire news regarding the economy, Americans have one silver lining: the price at the pump is going down. According to energy experts, gas prices should fall anywhere from 30 to 50 cents per gallon over the next several weeks.
Crude oil for September delivery dropped to $81.03 a barrel in New York futures trading, but later closed at $85.72 a barrel. Earlier in the week, oil was as low as $79.30 a barrel.
Should energy consumers pay extra taxes to fund government-mandated and subsidized renewable energy technologies? "Absolutely yes," says John Bryson, President Obama's nominee for Commerce Secretary. He made the remark at a meeting of the Commonwealth Club of California in 2009 and went on to extol the virtues of hidden rates in California, a state encumbered with some of the nation's highest electricity and unemployment rates.
Bryson, retired CEO of the electric utility Southern California Edison (SCE) and its parent company Edison International, excused the practice, saying, "That's been a part of the regulatory environment for the investor-owned utilities for as long as I've been close to it."
Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to redefine "diesel fuel" so it can expand regulations in natural-gas drilling. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce claims the measure is necessary to "protect human health" from fuels used in hydraulic fracturing, a process that injects high-pressure fluids and sand into shale formations deep beneath the Earth's surface to tap natural-gas reserves.
U.S. Representatives Henry Waxman (Calif.), Edward Markey (Mass.), Diana DeGette (Colo.), and Rush Holt (N.J.) sent a letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson this week, in which they contend that hydraulic fracturing providers are circumventing the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and using diesel fuels without regard to concerns about groundwater contamination.
Rising energy prices in Germany are forcing the pharmaceutical and chemical conglomerate Bayer to threaten a move to China. The culprit is Germany's nuclear energy exit bill, passed last month in reaction to Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. The bill orders a nuclear phase-out by 2022. Meanwhile, China plans to build 36 new nuclear power plants during the next decade. Germany's Deutsche Welle reports Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers predicted, "Energy prices will continue to rise, and they are already the highest in the EU." He said in the face of rising prices, "a global business such as Bayer would have to consider relocating its production to countries with lower energy costs." The move would leave 35,000 workers in Germany unemployed.
Countries Bayer is considering include China, Brazil, and India, where the company has already begun significant expansion. According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), Brazil plans to bring four new large reactors online by 2025, significantly expanding the current 3 percent of its electricity generated by two existing nuclear reactors.
Environmental contention stirs as discussions cultivate over the long-delayed 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport Canadian crude oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada, to southern parts of the United States. Due to environmental concerns, lawsuits from oil refineries, and opposition in the U.S. Congress, the project has been on hiatus, as it lingers in the State Department’s permitting process, awaiting President Obama’s approval. In urging the President to act, Republicans and business leaders allege that the $7 billion expansion will create 20,000 jobs — 13,000 construction jobs and 7,000 manufacturing jobs — and ease U.S. dependence on foreign oil. TransCanada, the Canadian company that proposed the expansion, estimates that the pipeline would deliver over one million barrels of oil a day to the U.S. "We could help reduce the amount of imports from the Middle East," asserted TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha, "which would ensure energy security for the United States."
As if the United States did not have enough issues with OPEC already, news reports reveal that there may be more cause for concern. According to the British publication the Guardian, Rostam Ghasemi will be the new president of OPEC. Ghasemi is a commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guard, who has been sanctioned by the United States, European Union, and Australia, and has had his assets blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury.
Iran took control of OPEC last October after 36 years under a rotating system, and some contend that with Ghasemi holding the position as president, the Revolutionary Guard will become more influential.
As GM share prices plunge so do Chevy Volt sales, according to the latest auto sales figures. Throughout July, a whopping 125 Chevy Volts were sold, making the seemingly low 281 units sold in February a groundbreaking month.
GM spokeswoman Michelle Bunker attributed the fallback to "supply constraints," alleging that GM was "virtually sold out" and supply was down nationwide. But Mark Modica, associate fellow at the National Legal and Policy Center, confirmed Bunker’s assertion was false, as he wrote on FoxNews.com:
The Obama administration has unveiled a new round of fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, which are expected to require mileage gains of nearly double the current figure. The new CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards will last through the year 2025.
The proposal mandates that all passenger vehicles sold in 2025 average approximately 55 miles per gallon. CNN explains, “They’d ramp up to that level over seven years, starting in 2017 when current rules end.”
By contrast, the current standards for all 2011 cars and trucks mandate that vehicles average 27.3 mpg. By 2017, they will have to reach 34.1 mpg.
As the United Nations defends a scheme to rob the industrialized world of $2 trillion a year to fund its redistributionists aims, the latest scientific evidence continues to undermine the fundamental premises on which the edifice of global warming alarmism has been standing.
As reported previously for The New American, the United Nations is demanding $76 trillion from the first world over the next 40 years to encourage the development of “green” technologies in the third world. The defense of such a reckless agenda has rested on the unwarranted claim that the globe was hovering on the precipice of environmental devastation. “Green” ideology has become the bulwark of older agendas: The nations of the West must end their own prosperity, because that is only “fair” — and it necessary to save the world from Capitalist greed.