The EPA's upcoming air pollution regulation revisions are creating concern in the energy industry.
At approximately 8:45 a.m. on August 24, federal agents raided Gibson Guitar Corporation facilities in Nashville and Memphis, making off with an estimated $1 million worth of Gibson property. Gibson’s alleged crime? Using imported wood from endangered trees. At least that’s what the company assumes the feds have in mind. Gibson hasn’t actually been notified of any charges against the company. In fact, according to a Gibson press release, they still haven’t been told on what charges “more than a dozen agents with automatic weapons” raided their factory and stole their property in November 2009. They’re being forced to sue in federal court to get their property back, and even there the government is stalling, having requested an indefinite stay of the case.
Both raids appear to stem from allegations that Gibson imported wood from foreign countries in violation of the Lacey Act. Originally enacted to prevent trafficking in endangered species, the act was amended in 2008 to include plants. According to the Rainforest Alliance:
The North American-Made Energy Security Act would direct the President to expedite the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
For all its posturing about cutting spending, the Obama administration seems to have little difficulty finding cash to reward its friends in the environmental movement. Solar energy, despite its limited usefulness, has been subsidized with hundreds of millions of dollars of federal grants and loans, including some to companies in India. Similarly, reports CNSNews.com, the administration has handed out $112 million over the past two years to protect the Sage Grouse, yet the bird itself exists in such numbers that the Department of the Interior has refused to list it as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
“Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week that the USDA would dedicate $21.8 million to pay eligible ranchers and farmers in the state of Wyoming to encourage conservation practices that preserve the numbers of Sage Grouse,” CNSNews.com writes. “That will bring to $112 million the total amount that the USDA has distributed over the last two years to eligible farmers and ranchers in 11 states as part of its Sage Grouse Initiative.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sketching out a regulatory blueprint designed to control pollution levels from coal-fired power plants, and lying under the torrent of new regulations will be mercury, smog, water intake, coal ash, and greenhouse gases.
Over the next 18 months, the EPA will put forth efforts to curb mercury emissions, place limits on smog-forming compounds like sulfur-dioxide, enact new rules for coal-ash waste, and implement new standards to contain greenhouse-gas emissions from oil refineries and power plants. "This year is going to be critical for paving a pathway for reducing carbon-dioxide pollution because of those EPA rules," suggested Daniel Weiss of the Center for American Progress. "Assuming, that is, they’re not stopped."
Industry leaders and congressional members note that the EPA’s new regulations will mount a heavy toll on the coal industry, because they will force coal-fired power plants to install costly new renovations — or, in many cases, shut down altogether.
Three years after the release of the remake The Day the Earth Stood Still, a team of American researchers has made the film’s theme a scientific theory: They are suggesting that an alien race might destroy man to stop our release of greenhouse-gas emissions and global warming.
Writes Fox News:
The thought-provoking scenario is one of many envisaged in a joint study by Penn State and the NASA Planetary Science Division, entitled "Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis."
It divides projected close encounters into "neutral," those that cause mankind "unintentional harm" and, more worryingly, those in which aliens do us "intentional harm."
While the idea of meeting our end at the green hands of anti-CO2 aliens may be more laugh-provoking than thought-provoking, another scenario in the harmful category is only slightly less amusing.
With the President’s announcement of higher mileage requirements — to 54.5 mpg on new cars and trucks sold in the United States by the year 2025 — came the usual promises of less dependence upon foreign oil and reduced “greenhouse gas” emissions. Said the White House blog, “Taken together, the standards established under this Administration span Model Years 2011-2015. They will save consumers money, reduce our dependence on oil, and protect the environment.”
Thanks to the standards, consumers will save an estimated $1.7 trillion dollars in real fuel costs of the life of their vehicles.
By 2025, the standards are projected to save families an estimated $8,200 in fuel savings [sic] over the lifetime of a new vehicle, [compared to] the Model Year 2010.
We will need to use less oil. [The standards] will reduce oil consumption by an estimated 2.2 million barrels a day.
The European Union has threatened Sweden with legal action unless it rescinds its first issuance of wolf-hunting licenses in 45 years. Swedish Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren announced that his country has no wish to engage in long legal proceedings in Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union, which would be the next step if the EU member-state failed to comply.
EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik asserted that the Swedish wolf-hunting licenses violated EU directives, although Carlgren observed that the interpretation of what is allowed is “rigid.”
It can hardly be asserted that the New Age socialist politics of Sweden are insensitive to animal welfare. The fact that there have not been licenses to hunt wolves — costly pests in largely rural Sweden — since 1966 suggests that the policy decision to issue the permits was not made lightly.
Seattle, Washington, is one of 25 communities that received $20 million from the Stimulus program as part of “Retrofit Ramp Up” — an initiative of the Department of Energy in which stimulus dollars are utilized to make homes more energy efficient. The program was touted as one that would create 2000 “green” jobs in the city of Seattle and retrofit at least 2000 homes. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But there’s just one problem. The program is a massive failure.
“Retrofit Ramp-Up,” according to Vice President Joe Biden who announced the program, sought to accomplish the following:
It’s about making our homes and our office buildings more efficient and more comfortable and more affordable, replacing windows and doors. I have visited, along with some of the people in the front row, new window and door factories making incredibly -- incredibly energy-efficient windows and doors, which can save billions of dollars over time. Putting in new air conditioning or heating units that are much more efficient. Sealing up cracks and openings where air can leak into and out of your home.
There is no resolution yet on a proposed $7 billion Canadian-U.S. oil pipeline, as President Obama has continued to delay his decision on whether to approve it. Before the construction and operation of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline expansion can progress, the President, through the U.S. State Department’s permitting process, must grant final approval — an approval which has been in political limbo for the past three years.
In a bill passed in July by the U.S. House of Representatives, the North American-Made Energy Security Act obliged the President to decide by November 1 whether to move forward with the 1,700-mile pipeline, which would transport Canadian crude oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska, and then on to the Gulf Coast.
As The New American reported two weeks ago, political opposition and environmental rhetoric hover around Obama’s verdict to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.