Energy

Renewable energy mandates and politics versus science

Competing renewable energy mandate legislation will appear on the Arizona this fall. You can read about them in two Arizona Daily Star stories:

Arizona utility APS crafts renewable-energy initiative with escape clause

Arizona Senate puts utility-written renewable energy plan on ballot

Neither addresses the real issue: electricity produced from utility-scale solar and wind is unreliable, expensive, plays havoc with electrical grid stability, and is not as green as advertized. Rather than play with tricky fixes, the Arizona legislature should repeal the Arizona Corporation Commission’s renewable energy mandate and forbid the ACC from mandating how electricity is generated. I can find no place in the Arizona Constitution nor in the Arizona Revised Statutes that gives the ACC authority to impose such mandates.

For background of ACC action, read a report from the Goldwater Institute: “Rediscovering the ACC’s Roots: Returning to the Original Purpose of the Arizona Corporation Commission” (link)

Here is the executive summary of the 26-page report:

The Arizona Corporation Commission was established through the state constitution to regulate corporations, public utilities, securities, and other investments. But in an unprecedented move, the Arizona Corporation Commission sought to single-handedly determine alternative energy policy in Arizona with a bold and unconstitutional energy mandate in 2006.1 This mandate forced energy producers to embrace state-favored alternatives instead of deciding for themselves which options are most attractive in Arizona.

Arizonans now face the real threat that the Arizona Corporation Commission will continue to seize power meant to be held by the state’s legislative branch. Important decisions about energy policy, corporate governance, and other areas have been removed from the legislative process which, for all its faults, offers more transparency, citizen input, and accountability than the opaque and bureaucratic proceedings of the Arizona Corporation Commission.

The framers of the Arizona Constitution had serious concerns about the Commission’s potential to abuse its authority. Records of the state constitutional debate show the constitution’s authors intentionally limited the Commission’s powers to prevent interference with internal business decisions. The framers’ fears have been borne out.

The Commission’s attempt to act as the state’s de facto energy czar clearly oversteps its original role.

Arizona courts should re-establish a proper balance between the Commission and legislative power. Courts in other states with similar utility regulatory commissions already have concluded such agencies don’t have constitutional authority to mandate statewide policy. The Legislature also can reassert its authority by ordering an audit of the Commission that would recommend ways to streamline the agency and to restore it to its proper role. Finally, the state constitution could be amended to transfer necessary functions to other agencies and decommission the ACC to stop its policymaking power grabs, which Arizona’s founders specifically aimed to prevent.

See these articles for more detail on the consequences of the ACC mandate:

Six reasons Arizona should repeal its renewable energy standards mandate

The economic impact of Arizona’s renewable energy mandate

The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation

The more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity.

Political correctness versus science:

The alleged rationale for these mandates is that we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions to forestall dread global warming. But, there is no physical evidence that emissions from fossil fuels play a significant role in driving global temperature. See these ADI posts for more detail:

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

“What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?” I posed that question to five “climate scientist” professors at the University of Arizona who claim that our carbon dioxide emissions are the principal cause of dangerous global warming. Yet, none could cite any supporting physical evidence.

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

The “greenhouse” hypothesis of global warming makes four major predictions of what we should see if the “greenhouse effect” is intensified by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. All four predictions are shown by physical evidence to be wrong.

What keeps Earth warm – the greenhouse effect or something else?

An alternative hypothesis with observable evidence.

Failure of climate models shows that carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature

Results from climate models based on the assumption that carbon dioxide controls global temperature diverge widely from reality.

Climate change in perspective

An overview of climate history

The 97 percent consensus of human caused climate change debunked again

The fake climate consensus

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Russian collusion with environmentalists to disrupt American energy production

It seems that there is indeed Russian collusion, collusion with environmental groups to harm American energy production. This has been going on for years.

Environmentalists have campaigned for the following:

1) US nuclear energy facilities to close down

2) US fossil fuel reserves to stay in the ground (onshore and offshore)

3) the costs of fossil fuels to go up (e.g. with a carbon tax)

4) a high percentage of the US electric grid to be based on unreliable sources? (wind and solar)

5) the US to waste trillions of dollars on unreliable electricity

All of this plays into Russian hands as they battle to maintain their European markets.

 

See a Congressional Report about this collusion:

Mar 1, 2018,WASHINGTON – U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released a staff report uncovering Russia’s extensive efforts to influence U.S. energy markets through divisive and inflammatory posts on social media platforms. The report details Russia’s motives in interfering with U.S. energy markets and influencing domestic energy policy and its manipulation of Americans via social media propaganda. The report includes examples of Russian-propagated social media posts.

According to the report: “Russia has a significant interest in disrupting U.S. energy markets and influencing domestic energy policy. American energy is booming. America’s emergence as a global energy exporter presents a significant threat to Russian energy interests. Such competition reduces the revenue and influence generated by Russian energy exports. This adversely affects the Kremlin’s ability to leverage Eastern Europe’s reliance on their energy and their ability to carry out their geopolitical agenda. The surge of American energy into the global marketplace heightens the Kremlin’s desire to eliminate or mitigate the American energy threat and to do so by influencing social media users, American voters, and public officials.”

 Read press releaseRead full report.

 

Consider these stories:

Environmental group may have to register as foreign agents

Reported by Washington Examiner, 01/15/18 Link to story

“U.S. environmental activists who are working to halt the production and use of fossil fuels could be required to register as foreign agents if Congress gets serious about enforcing an existing law.” The Foreign Agents Registration Act, passed in 1938, calls for individuals and organizations to provide full disclosure when they are working to advance the public policy interests of a foreign government.

Democrats dig for Russian connection and uncover environmentalists.

Reported by The Hill, 10/26/17. Link to story

“Democrats and the media have been on a year-long deep dig into Russian involvement into U.S. elections. But when you dig a hole you sometimes run across things you wish had remained buried — like the dirt pointing to Russian ties to the U.S. environmental movement.

Russia secretly working with environmentalists to oppose fracking.

Reported by The Guardian, 19/06/14. Link to story

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) said: “I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations – environmental organizations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.”

 

See also:

 

https://wryheat.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/the-high-cost-of-electricity-from-wind-and-solar-generation/

The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation

Written by Jonathan DuHamel

Some European countries, particularly Germany and Denmark, have invested heavily in electricity generation from solar and wind sources with the result that the cost of electricity has increased substantially. The alleged rational for using “green” energy is that it would reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save us from dread global warming. The reality is that carbon dioxide emissions have not been reduced and real world evidence shows that carbon dioxide emissions have almost no influence on global temperature. (See my Wryheat post: Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect).

Here is what is happening in Europe. The more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity. In the graph below the vertical scale is Euro cents per kilowatt-hour, the horizontal scale is the installed capacity of renewables (solar and wind) per capita. (For reference, the U.S. average residential cost is 12 cents/kwh which is about 9.6 euro cents/kwh, lower than all European countries on the graph.)

 

Pierre L. Gosselin, a graduate of the University of Arizona who resides in Germany, writes: “Despite the rapidly growing green energy capacity being installed, the effort to reduce CO2 has failed, and what’s left is an unpredictable power grid that often produces energy when it is not needed (waste energy) and thus costing Germans hundreds of millions annually. The Green Party claims that wind energy is “the most inexpensive” on the market, but “If that is really true, then why do they need subsidies? Why are we paying 25 billion euros annually for their feed-in?” An array of expert panels have determined that wind energy is not leading to more climate protection, but rather is only making electricity outrageously expensive.” (Source)

Australians are experiencing the same thing. The last 65 years of Australian electricity prices — indexed and adjusted for inflation show that during the coal boom, Australian electricity prices declined decade after decade. As renewables and national energy bureaucracies grew, so did the price of electricity. (Source) See graph at source.

Peter Rez (Professor at Arizona State University) explains Why solar and wind won’t make much difference to carbon dioxide emissions (Oxford University Press)

“In many circles there is a comforting belief that renewables such as solar and wind can replace fossil fuel electrical generation and leave us free to live as we do without carbon dioxide emissions. Fundamental physics and engineering considerations show that this is not so.”

“Power needs fluctuate with time of the day and, to a lesser extent, day of the week. In most places, peaks occur in the evening when people come home, start cooking, and turn on lights and entertainment systems. In Arizona in summer, the peaks are even more extreme due to the air conditioners all cutting in. There are also morning peaks, as people get up and turn on lights and hair dryers. Commercial and industrial use generally doesn’t change much throughout the day. The electrical utilities call this a baseload.”

“Solar and wind present two problems. One is low power density; massive areas have to be devoted to power generation. The other, more serious problem is intermittency. If we only wanted to run electrical appliances when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining, fine, but don’t expect to use solar to turn on your light at night! So solar and wind cannot manage on their own; it’s always solar or wind AND something else.” Read more

All of this has implications for Arizona energy policy.

In 2006, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) imposed the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) on non-government-owned electric utilities. REST requires that electric utilities generate an ever increasing amount of electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar. The original mandated goal was to reach a total of 15 percent renewable generation by the year 2025.

Now ACC commissioner Andy Tobin is campaigning for what he calls an “Energy Modernization Plan.” (See ADI article “Tobin Appears To Overstep With Energy Modernization Plan”)  Read full plan at:   http://www.azcc.gov/commissioners/atobin/letters/energyplan.asp 

From the plan: “The singular unifying goal is to have Arizona’s economy powered by clean energy sources that make up at least 80 percent of the state’s electricity generating portfolio, by 2050, with the ultimate goal being 100 percent.

The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation refers not only to the price of electricity, but also to the cost to the environment and health of humans and other animals.

Several years ago I wrote a Wryheat post: “Petition to Arizona Legislature – Dump Renewable Energy Mandates” which lists six reasons why the Arizona legislature should get rid of this mandate. Besides the cost and grid instability, solar and wind generation are not as “green” as advertised.

For example, many PV solar panels rely on polysilicon being manufactured in large quantities and at high quality. A byproduct of polysilicon production is silicon tetrachloride, a highly toxic substance that poses a major environmental hazard. Wherever silicon tetrachloride is dumped, the land becomes totally infertile. A major environmental cost of photovoltaic solar energy is toxic chemical pollution (arsenic, gallium, and cadmium) and energy consumption associated with the large-scale manufacture of photovoltaic panels.

Concentrating solar plants such as the Ivanpah generating station, in the Mohave Desert southwest of Las Vegas, uses 173,500 heliostats each with two mirrors to focus sunlight on a tower where water is converted to steam to generate electricity. This method is called “solar-flux” and it generates very high temperatures. Birds experience traumatic impact with the mirrors, but the larger danger is getting singed by the heat flux which is up to 800 degrees F. (See my post: Avian Mortality from Solar Farms)

Wind turbines chop up millions of birds and bats every year. (See: Wind Turbines Versus Wildlife) Wind turbines also cause health problems in humans and other animals due to their low-frequency noise and the “flicker” of the turbines themselves. (See: Health Hazards of Wind Turbines)

I can find no place in the Arizona State Constitution nor the Arizona Revised Statutes that gives the ACC explicit authority to dictate the methods by which utilities must generate electricity. I recommend that the Arizona legislature repeal the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff and forbid the ACC from dictating how electricity must be produced. Instead, let the free market decide.

Generating more electricity from solar and wind is just a very expensive exercise in political correctness that will have little impact on carbon dioxide emissions, but a big impact on your wallet.

See also:

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

“What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?”

This article may be reprinted/reposted  provided that credit of authorship is given with a link back to the source.

URL: https://wryheat.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/the-high-cost-of-electricity-from-wind-and-solar-generation/

Coal – A Possible New Source of Rare Earth Elements

The US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has identified high concentrations of rare earth elements (REE) in coal samples collected from several American coal basins and is doing research to see if these minerals are economically recoverable.

According to the Energy Business Review, samples

were collected from the Illinois, Northern Appalachian, Central Appalachian, Rocky Mountain Coal Basins, and the Pennsylvania Anthracite regions. The samples were found to have high REE concentrations greater than 300 parts per million (ppm).

NETL said: “Concentrations of rare earths at 300ppm are integral to the commercial viability of extracting REE from coal and coal by-products, making NETL’s finding particularly significant in the effort to develop economical domestic supplies of these elements.”

NETL has partnered with West Virginia University (WVU), the University of Kentucky (UK), Tetra Tech, and the XLight for the research project.

The current difficulties and high expenses associated with REE extraction has left the U.S. dependent on foreign REE imports. Currently, China supplies about 90 percent of REE used in industry.

Rare earth elements are vital to modern society. Some of the uses include computer memory, DVDs, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, catalytic converters, magnets, fluorescent lighting, night-vision goggles, precision-guided weapons, communications equipment, GPS equipment, batteries, and other defense electronics.

There are 17 naturally occurring rare earth elements: yttrium, scandium, lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium.

Despite the name “rare earths” the more common REE are each similar in crustal abundance to commonplace metals such as chromium, nickel, copper, zinc, molybdenum, tin, tungsten, and lead, but REE rarely occur in economic concentrations, and that’s the problem.

The U.S. used to be self-sufficient in REE due to one deposit, Mountain Pass in the Mojave desert, California, just west of Las Vegas, Nevada. That mine, a carbonatiteintrusion with extraordinary contents of light REE (8 to 12% rare earth oxides) was discovered in 1949 and began production in 1952. Mining ceased in 2002 due to low prices and some environmental regulatory trouble triggered by a tailings spill. However, the mine was reactivated in 2012 but went bankrupt in 2016. Another company (a Chinese consortium) purchased the property in July, 2017, and is working to restart operations.

Some other U.S. rare earth resources are shown on the map below.

See a power-point essay on REE that explains geology, deposit types, and many more details.

One of the authors of that power-point says:

“For example, a typical coal contains 62 parts per million (ppm) of total rare earth elements on a whole sample basis. With more than 275 billion tons of coal reserves in the United States, approximately 17 million tons of rare earth elements are present within the coal—that’s a 1,000-year supply at the current rate of consumption.” —Dr. Evan Granite, NETL

The report also says that abandoned tailings piles from coal and iron mines may be important resources of REE.

Dr. Granite says that the United States consumes around 16- to17 thousand tons of REE each year, and this demand could be completely satisfied by extracting rare earths from domestic coal and coal by-products.

See also:

Rare Earths Resources in the US

How we use rare earth elements

Rare Earth Elements Deposits in New Mexico

Illustrating the failure of the climate movement – in one graph

This post is reblogged from

People like Bill McKibben of 350.org make a big deal out of the “successes” of carbon divestment, where the 350.org organization bullies convinces some hapless organization to divest from coal and petroleum stocks in investment portfolios. Besides the fact that this has no real impact, since when one person or group “divests”, another one buys the shares up, this graph shows why 350.org, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, NRDC, and the whole lot of climate campaigners are just practicing an exercise in futility.

Dr. Roger Pielke writes on Twitter:

I’m preparing some slides for an upcoming talk (on climate policy, yowza!). The attached is an effort to show in a readily understandable way the mind-bending scale of the energy challenge associated with deep decarbonization. What do you think?

This graph of global fossil fuel consumption tells the true story: green efforts to reduce fossil fuel use have not succeed with any impact at all. With a 57% increase in fossil fuel use since 1992, their efforts have been completely without effect.

Be sure to save this post URL and share it widely to those that think they have “made a difference”.

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

An examination of the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide

What keeps Earth warm – the greenhouse effect or something else?

It’s time to dump the EPA “endangerment finding” which classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant

In 2009, the EPA ruled, under the Clean Air Act, that “the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)—in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.” In essence, the EPA classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant even though Carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth.

For some perspective, note that current atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is about 400ppm (parts per million) while the air we exhale with every breathe contains 40,000ppm carbon dioxide. Is breathing causing air pollution?

This EPA ruling in effect allowed EPA to regulate everything from automobile exhaust to power plants to refrigerators. In order to overturn the finding, one would have to successfully show that the underlying scientific basis is wrong – and it is. Another tactic would be to have Congress amend the Clean Air Act, something that is very unlikely in the current contentious Congress.

The EPA’s scientific basis is derived from climate models, predictions of which diverge widely from reality. See my ADI articles:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

Failure of climate models shows that carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature

Additional reading on the “Endangerment Finding” if you want to get into the details:

 

The EPA CO2 endangerment finding endangers the USA by Dennis Avery.

“In science, if your theory doesn’t take account of all the relevant data, you need a new theory.” Avery shows how the climate models fail to explain observations and notes that thousands of new coal-fired power plants are being built around the world – even in Europe. Avery is a former U.S. State Department senior analyst and co-author with astrophysicist Fred Singer of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years.

 

Why Revoking the EPA GHG Endangerment Finding Is the Most Urgent Climate Action Needed

by Alan Carlin. Carlin is a scientist and economist who worked for the RAND Corp. and the EPA.

“Revoking the EF is the only way to bring the climate alarmism scam to the untimely end it so richly deserves in the US and hopefully indirectly elsewhere. Until that happens the CIC [climate industrial complex] will continue to pursue its bad science through reports such as the National Climate Assessment with the recommended disastrous policies that would seriously damage the environment, impoverish the less wealthy, and bring economic disaster for our Nation by raising the prices and decreasing the availability and reliability of fossil fuel energy which is so central to our way of life and economy.”

 

In a separate post, Carlin also said that “EPA never engaged in a robust, meaningful discussion. Rather, there was a pro forma review after a decision had already been made which met many but not all of the legal requirements.” He lists “six crucial scientific issues that EPA did not actively discuss despite my best efforts to bring a few of them to their attention in early 2009.”

 

Dr. Pat Michaels on the ‘voluminous science that the USGCRP either ignored or slanted’ for the EPA endangerment finding

Patrick J. Michaels is the director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute. Michaels is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and was program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society. He was a research professor of Environmental Sciences at University of Virginia for 30 years. Michaels recounts his testimony before the EPA. USGCRP is U.S. Global Change Research Program.

 

60 scientists call for EPA endangerment finding to be reversed

“We the undersigned are individuals who have technical skills and knowledge relevant to climate science and the GHG Endangerment Finding. We each are convinced that the 2009 GHG Endangerment Finding is fundamentally flawed and that an honest, unbiased reconsideration is in order.”

Earth Hour: A Dissent

Reblogged from WUWT

Earth Hour: A Dissent

by Ross McKitrick

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics, Univer...

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics, University of Guelph, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In 2009 I was asked by a journalist for my thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour.

Here is my response.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.

Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.

Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.

Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases.

Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the west developed.

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity.

Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.

People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.

I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.

Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply.

If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.

No thanks.

I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.

Ross McKitrick
Professor of Economics
University of Guelph

Will Trump rein in regulation?

Have we just witnessed a second American revolution; one that repudiates the policies of the political establishment of both Republicans and Democrats? We had a hint of this when Trump beat out establishment Republicans in the primary.

Trump will have much to deal with. In this article I will concentrate on the EPA, an agency whose regulations have trampled private property rights, and killed much inexpensive electricity generation.

What if, in his inaugural address, Trump were to issue an executive order that says something like “no federal agency shall regulate carbon dioxide emissions from burning of fossil fuels and all existing regulations to that effect are null and void?” Even the EPA admits that the possible effect on climate of its “Clean Power Plan” is prevention of just 0.03°C by the year 2100. That would be a great positive step in quelling the climate madness. It would also boost our economy. EPA regulations on particulate matter have no basis in science (see references below).

The EPA itself could be phased out and replaced by the environmental agencies of each state.

The EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule (WOTUS, see here and here) impacts private property rights because the rule has become so invasive that it regulates every puddle and rill that may occur on or pass through a property.

In addition to the above:

The U.S. should withdrawal from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, from the Paris climate agreement and from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC). These agencies and agreements suck money and provide no benefit. In the thousands of pages from reports by the IPCC, they have never produced any physical evidence that carbon dioxide emissions play a significant role in controlling global temperature.

The U.S. should also terminate all federal government subsidies for climate change research and for “renewable” energy. Let the solar and wind turbine companies test the demand for their product on the free market without any artificial markets produced by mandates and subsidies.

Endangered species listings based on projected climate change should be rescinded. In fact, the Endangered Species act should be amended or replaced with something that is more science-based and provides a positive incentive for conservation.

I hope Trump can “drain the swamp” and make the government serve the people once again.

 

See also:

EPA Clean Power Plan is Junk Science

EPA’s own human experiments debunk health claims

EPA claims on dangers of particulate matter are false

EPA Clean Power Plan is Junk Science

Replace the Environmental Protection Agency

EPA targets wrong cause of haze in Grand Canyon

The Flaws in the Endangered Species Act

 

 

Federal land grabs hurt economy and trample property rights

Using the Antiquity Act, the Endangered Species Act, and by executive moratoria, President Obama has now seized more land by executive order than any U.S. President in history.

Arizona has a Federally-imposed 20-year moratorium on new mining claims near the Grand Canyon, an area rich in uranium. The rationale is that such mining could contaminate the Colorado River. However a study by the Arizona Geological Survey shows this worry to be far-fetched. (see ADI story).

Obama’s Interior Department is proposing to withdraw up to 10 million acres of sage grouse habitat from new mining operations in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming. This action is being proposed in spite of the fact that DOI recently announced that listing of the greater sage grouse as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is not warranted and DOI’s finding that mining is not a major threat to the bird or its habitat.

The National Mining Association says “This over-reaching and unprecedented action would seriously damage the United States economy and mineral security, while harming the very species it purports to protect.” “DOI maintains that the withdrawal is necessary to prevent a listing of the sage grouse. However, most of the reports prepared for the listing determination do not identify mining activities as a significant threat and instead point to wildfires and invasive species as the greatest threats.” NMA also notes that “Already half of the nation’s hardrock mineral estate is either off-limits or under restrictions for mineral development.” (Source) NMA has released a video explaining how these withdrawals negatively impact our nation, industries, and citizens.

This past August, Obama greatly expanded the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii to 582,578 square miles. This area will be off-limits to scientific investigation, petroleum exploration, and commercial fishing. (Source)

Also in August, Obama created the “Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument,” placing 87,563 acres of Maine’s woods under federal control. This designation did not sit well with the local people. (Source) Obama also set aside two million acres in Utah as the “Big Ears National Monument.”

In July, 2015, Obama claimed more than 1 million acres in California, Texas and Nevada to designate as national monuments. The Washington Times opined: “With the move, Mr. Obama has established or expanded 19 national monuments, taking 260 million acres of land and placing it under control of the federal government. Critics say the administration simply wants to expand government control across the country.” (Source)

On Nov. 1, 2016, members of the House Committee on Natural Resources sent a letter to the White House expressing concerns that national monument designations in California and Oregon will exacerbate water shortages and increase threats of catastrophic wildfire. (Read letter)

Do you want such policy to continue? Or, should we wisely use our own natural resources to become less dependent on foreign sources?

 

See also:

Trump Weighs In On Western States Land Grab Battle – ADI article

Open federal land to energy exploration and development to boost economy – Wryheat

Free the Land from the Feds

Scientific misconduct at USGS lab affects Arizona

According to an Inspector General report published June 15, 2016, the inorganic section of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Energy Geochemistry Laboratory in Lakewood, Colo. manipulated data on a variety of projects from 1996 to 2014. The manipulation was caught in 2008, but continued another six years.

The Inspector General report “ detailed two instances in which mass spectrometer operators in the Energy Geochemistry Laboratory’s Inorganic Section had violated established laboratory practices without detection for many years. The initial incident involved scientific misconduct that began in 1996 and continued undiscovered until 2008. The second incident began in 2008 and continued undiscovered until late 2014.”

“Once the results of the inquiry became known, USGS closed the Inorganic Section, effective February 25, 2016. Along with the closure, the agency initiated personnel actions, started determining what should be done with the lab equipment, and began notifying end users of potentially suspect data generated in the lab. USGS currently is assessing the full impacts of the incident on affected research and assessment projects, a process that will take some time to complete. USGS accused the chemist of data manipulation by intentionally changing the results produced by the mass spectrometer. The chemist also failed to preserve the data. Further, the Bureau accused the chemist of failing to operate the mass spectrometer according to established practices, which constituted scientific misconduct.”

“Twenty-four research and assessment projects that have national and global interest were potentially affected by erroneous information. These affected projects represented about $108 million in funding from FY 2008 through 2014.” Assessment of uranium in the environment in and around Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona was one of the affected projects.

Arizona State Geologist, Lee Allison, notes on his blog:

“According to the report, the matter was discovered in late 2014, but had been taking place since 2008. This covers the time period when the Secretary of Interior was conducting a review of impacts of potential mineral exploration and development, particularly of uranium, in northern Arizona. As a result of the federal studies, the Secretary placed a 20-year moratorium on exploration and mining on nearly 1 million acres of federal lands in the region.”

“The fraudulent data could bring into question the scientific justification of the land withdrawal, and the current political effort to establish a 1.8 million acre national monument in the region specifically to protect the area from impacts on water from uranium mining.”

My report, “Uranium mining ban near Grand Canyon all politics, no science” was on work done by the Arizona Geological Survey which depended, in part, on USGS data. I think, however, that the basis of the Arizona Geological Survey report remains valid.

Read full Inspector General report.

UPDATE from the Daily Caller:

EXCLUSIVE: Congressman Says Fed Lab Closure For Data Manipulation Is ‘Suspicious’

Sally Jewell speaks at the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference in Laguna Niguel, California. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Mis-conduct by two U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) officials led to the “suspicious” shutdown of a federal scientific lab in Lakewood, Colorado, without informing Congress, a skeptical lawmaker and career engineer told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The way they closed the facility without notifying Congress of it until after the fact, that seems a little suspicious,” said Rep. Bruce Westerman, an Arkansas Republican and member of the House Natural Resources Committee, in an interview Monday.

“If it was just some tweaking of the equipment, then something’s wrong. They didn’t close the facility over a piece of equipment being mis-calibrated,” Westerman told TheDCNF. To date, no federal official has publicly explained why the two analysts manipulated the data over such a long period of time.

The unusual closure occurred eight years after a USGS analyst resigned in 2008 while under investigation for manipulating energy-related data from 1996 to 2008. He had worked in the inorganic section of the Energy Geochemistry Laboratory. Despite the resignation, however, a second analyst almost immediately continued distorting research data until 2014.

USGS consequently closed the lab in March 2016, but Westerman thinks it is odd that an entire lab was shuttered without first telling Congress.

The analysts consistently calibrated equipment beyond what’s typically allowed within the scientific community, which affected test outcomes, often altering data by as much as 20 percent, USGS spokeswoman Anne-Berry Wade previously told TheDCNF.

The manipulated data was “basic scientific research,” said Westerman, who was a professional engineer for 24 years before entering politics, with degrees in agricultural and biological engineering. “You’re talking about the building blocks of research.”

Because the data is so important, Westerman worries that “this stuff has a domino effect. If that data is flawed coming out of that research lab, then all that research downstream is flawed. I would hate to think that any kind of project or any big policy decisions were made by some flawed data.”

Westerman also wonders what happened to the backup data for the research done by the two former USGS employees and he’s not happy with what he’s been told to date by Department of Interior officials.

“Why were all of the notes and calculations and backup data either never produced or destroyed? Why did it go on for so long? Why can’t they just give us a straight answer,” Westerman asked. “It sure smells fishy. There’s just too many things that raise a red flag and I just don’t have a good feeling about it.”

USGS officials knew about the first analyst’s misconduct years before it was stopped but they were oblivious to the second analyst’s actions, even though data issues were widely known outside the lab, TheDCNF previously reported. The agency also procrastinated in notifying scientists who may have depended upon the flawed data.

USGS is unaware of any affected policy decisions, Wade previously told TheDCNF, but the Department of the Interior Inspector General disagreed, saying in a June 2016 report that “the full extent of the impacts are not yet known but … they will be serious and far ranging.”

USGS also continues investigating the effects of the data manipulations, but refuses to reveal what punishments the second analyst or any supervisors faced. No recommendations for prosecution were referred to the Department of Justice because the IG only conducted an inspection, which bears significantly less consequences than a full investigation or audit.

“Maybe they need to take an investigative approach,” Westerman told TheDCNF. “We need to raise the rug up and see what’s under it.”

Additionally, the watchdog knew about the second analyst’s manipulation more than a year before its inspection was published.

The IG was told that a USGS employee had boasted, saying “tell me what you want and I will get it for you. What we do is like magic,” although the exact context of that quote is unclear.

“That’s highly suspect when people talk like that,” Westerman said. “That’s not what you’d expect from a federal research lab.”

The IG, however, has said no further investigations are planned.