2014-11 November

People for the West -Tucson

PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868 pfw-tucson@cox.net

Newsletter, November, 2014

Incompetence, Corruption, and Ideology

by Jonathan DuHamel

People for the West does not advocate for or against candidates for political office, besides, if one were to believe the political ads, one could get the impression that all candidates are scoundrels.

We do, however, comment on issues, policy, and state of the union. We note that administration of the state of the union has, of late, been marked by incompetence and corruption of a proportion rarely seen. That condition derives from ideology.

In a recent editorial, Charles Krauthammer notes that the election, as always, is about the economy. “Second is the question of competence. The list of disasters is long, highlighted by the Obamacare rollout, the Veterans Affairs scandal and the pratfalls of the once-lionized Secret Service. Beyond mere incompetence is government intrusiveness and corruption, as in the overreach of national security surveillance and IRS targeting of politically disfavored advocacy groups.”

The financial crash of 2008 was precipitated by ideology. The feds forced banks to lend to people who would not ordinarily qualify for loans, and when, surprise!, the loans went into default, the economy tanked.

The feds threw money at the problem, but most of that was spent ineffectively and enriched crony capitalist friends of the administration. Some of the programs were just plain stupid, remember “cash for clunkers”?

Jeffrey Dorfman, writing in Forbes, presents 10 economic principles that liberal ideologues seem ignorant of. Here are three of those principles:

Government cannot create wealth, jobs, or income. Because government has to take money from somebody before it can spend it, there is no economic gain from anything the government does.

Environmental over-regulation is a regressive tax that falls hardest on the poor. When we reduce pollution more than we should, worry about climate change more than we should, or over-restrict access to natural resources, prices go up. Because the poor spend a higher percentage of their income, forcing up prices is a bigger penalty on the poor. Blocking the Keystone XL pipeline is a perfect example of how environmental extremists are causing energy prices to be higher.

When government provides things for free, they will end up being low quality, cost more than they should, and may disappear when most needed. Public education, free health care, welfare programs; does anybody think these programs are high quality, reliable, and have no waste in their budgets?

Perhaps the biggest political scam is waged in the name of the environment. But, as Paul Driessen writes, “It’s rarely about the environment anymore. It’s about slashing our energy use, free enterprise, job creation, living standards and freedoms.”

Driessen opines, “today’s battles pit poor, minority and blue-collar families against a far-left ‘Billionaires Club’ and the radical environmentalist groups it supports and directs, in collusion with federal, state and local bureaucrats, politicians and judges – and with thousands of corporate bosses and alarmist scientists who profit mightily from the arrangements.

“These ideological comrades in arms run masterful, well-funded, highly coordinated campaigns that have targeted, not just coal, but all hydrocarbon energy, as well as nuclear and even hydroelectric power. They fully support the Obama agenda, largely because they helped create that agenda.

“They seek ever-greater control over our lives, livelihoods, living standards, liberties and wealth.”

Below are some examples of EPA over-regulation and stupidity.

EPA FOLLIES

Besides Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency may be the federal agency most dangerous to our economy. Their Gestapo-like, command and control regulations seem to be based purely on politics rather than upon science-based environmental reality.

According to Paul Driessen: “By 2030 the regulations will cost 224,000 jobs, force US consumers to pay $289 billion more for electricity, and lower disposable incomes for American households by $586 billion, the US Chamber of Commerce calculates.”

Some examples:

The EPA’s new Carbon Pollution Standards rule will require coal-fired electrical generating plant to install “commercially viable” carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities in order to be licensed. But:

Kemper CCS Project: 3 Years Behind, $3.9 Billion Over Budget. How’s that for ‘adequately demonstrated’?

by Marlo Lewis (Oct. 29, 2014)

Southern Company announced this week that its carbon capture and storage (CCS) coal-fired power plant in Kemper, Mississippi, will cost almost three times more and take three years longer than originally planned. Initially budgeted for $2.2 billion, the project is now expected to cost $6.1 billion.

This news does not bode well for EPA’s Carbon Pollution Standards rule, which relies on a handful of subsidized projects, with Kemper as pride of the fleet, to make the case that CCS technology is “adequately demonstrated.”

The rule establishes a carbon dioxide new source performance standard for new coal power plants of 1,100 lbs. CO2/MWh. As EPA admits, today’s state-of-the-art coal plants emit 1,800 lbs. CO2/MWh ).

This means the standard effectively bans investment in new coal generation, a policy that would be dead on arrival if introduced as a bill in Congress.

EPA says not to worry, because new coal units can meet the standard by installing CCS technology, which the agency certifies is “adequately demonstrated,” i.e., commercially viable. Read more

Ninety Percent of EPA Stimulus Funding for Diesel Reduction Program Misspent

by Elizabeth Harrington, Washington Free Beacon

Over 90 percent of funding for a diesel reduction program paid for by the stimulus law was misspent, according to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG).

. Read more

As I reported in the August issue:

Property Rights at Stake in EPA’s Water Power Grab

by Daren Bakst, The Daily Signal

Thanks to the federal government, it soon may become far more difficult to use and enjoy private property. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers want to make a water—and land—grab that should scare everyone.

Under the Clean Water Act, the federal government has jurisdiction over “navigable waters,” which the statute further defines as “the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.” Property owners often need to get permits if waters covered under the law will be impacted. Therefore, a critical question is what types of “waters” are covered under the CWA. That’s what the EPA and Corps seek to address with a new proposed rule that would define “the waters of the United States.” As expected, the EPA and the Corps are seeking to expand their authority to cover waters never imagined when the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972. Read more

EPA proposes to ban argon from pesticides

(See full story here)

This is perhaps the dumbest thing the EPA has proposed to date. With pressure from environmental groups the EPA is proposing to remove 72 inert chemicals from pesticides.

Argon is the third most abundant gas in the atmosphere (about 1%) after nitrogen and oxygen. It is completely inert. It participates in no chemical reactions whatsoever, except under exotic conditions – there are no known chemical compounds which can survive at room temperature which include Argon. Argon is not a greenhouse gas.

But Argon is incredibly useful to industry – among other things, is used as a “shield” gas. Anyone who welds aluminum or stainless steel will be familiar with Argon, which is used with welders to blow oxygen away from the electric welding arc, to prevent oxidative damage to the weld joint.

“Carbon Pollution”

by Jonathan DuHamel (from Wryheat)

The EPA has labeled carbon dioxide emissions as a “pollutant.” The political propaganda press writes of “carbon pollution.” This occurs despite the fact that carbon dioxide is necessary for life. Without it, there would be no plant life and hence no animal life.

Let’s look more closely at the “pollution” aspect and its supposed danger. According to physician Charles Battig:

“As a physician practicing the specialty of anesthesiology, my training included the details of human respiratory physiology, and knowledge of the movement of the essential gases in and out of my patients’ lungs. A most basic mechanism of human life is the cycle of oxygen in; carbon dioxide out. What is the exhaled concentration of CO2 in your lungs? Physiology texts give a normal range of 4 to 5 per cent. In the climate change nomenclature arena, that would be expressed as an equivalent 40,000 to 50,000 ppm! Imagine that, your own lungs manufacture the EPA-defined pollutant carbon dioxide at levels one-hundred times that of the air we breathe in. Not only do the innermost parts of your body tolerate chronic exposure to this scary EPA pseudo-pollutant, longevity records confirm our increasing lifespan, in spite of this officially labeled, EPA internal CO2 pollution.” (Original Source)

More on “carbon pollution”

Mr. President, CO2 is not Pollution, it’s the Elixir of Life

by Dr. Craig Idso

Contrary to misguided assertions, political correctness, and government edicts, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It’s a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas essential to nearly all life on earth.

We all learned in primary school that atmospheric CO2 is the building block of plant life, the primary raw material that they utilize during the process of photosynthesis. As demonstrated in literally thousands of laboratory and field studies, the more of that food there is, the better they grow.

In general, rising atmospheric CO2 endows plants with three major benefits, the most recognized of which is enhanced plant productivity. Typically, a 300 parts per million (ppm) increase in the air’s CO2 content (such an increase over pre-industrial values is expected to occur by the end of this century) will raise the productivity of most herbaceous plants by about one-third and most woody plants by about one-half. This is manifested by more branches, leaves, roots, flowers and fruit.

A second major benefit is increased water use efficiency. Plants exposed to elevated levels of CO2 need less water to produce the same, or an even greater mass, than they do at lower concentrations. Finally, higher levels of CO2 reduce detrimental growth effects of certain environmental stresses and resource limitations, including high and low air temperature, ozone pollution, low levels of soil fertility, and pest attacks.

Perhaps most important are the benefits of the historical and still-ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content on past, present, and future crop yields. According to one recent study, rising CO2 concentrations enhanced the value of global crop production over the past 50 years with a staggering value of $3.2 trillion. In the future, an additional $9.8 trillion in monetary gains are likely to accrue in response to the projected upward rise in atmospheric CO2 between now and 2050. Read full article

CLIMATE CHANGE

NOAA Report Destroys Global Warming Link To Extreme Weather

by James Taylor, Forbes

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have demolished claims by global warming activists that global warming caused or worsened many extreme weather events last year.

According to NOAA’s new publication, Explaining Extremes of 2013 from a Climate Perspective, there is no discernible connection between global warming and 2013 extreme weather events such as the California drought, Colorado floods, the UK’s exceptionally cold spring, a South Dakota blizzard, Central Europe floods, a northwestern Europe cyclone, and exceptional snowfall in Europe’s Pyrenees Mountains. Read More of the Forbes Article

The NOAA paper (more than 100 pages,full article here) concludes:

“This report contributes to the growing body of evidence that human influences on climate have changed the risk of some extreme events and that scientists are increasingly able to detect these changes. A failure to find anthropogenic signals for several events examined in this report does not prove anthropogenic climate change had no role to play. Rather, an anthropogenic contribution to these events that is distinguishable from natural climate variability could not be detected by these analyses. Thus, there may have been an anthropogenic role, but these particular analyses did not find one. This year, the number of events analyzed in this report has again increased, and the range of event types analyzed has expanded to include a blizzard, snowfall, and a mid-latitude cyclone.”

“IPCC computer climate models are the vehicles of deception for the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) claim that human CO2 is causing global warming. They create the results they are designed to produce. …people trying to determine what is wrong with the IPCC climate models consider a multitude of factors, when the failure is completely explained by one thing, insufficient data to construct a model.” – Dr. Tim Ball source

NASA Study Finds 1934 Had Worst Drought of Last Thousand Years

A new study using a reconstruction of North American drought history over the last 1,000 years found that the drought of 1934 was the driest and most widespread of the last millennium.

Using a tree-ring-based drought record from the years 1000 to 2005 and modern records, scientists from NASA and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory found the 1934 drought was 30 percent more severe than the runner-up drought (in 1580) and extended across 71.6 percent of western North America. For comparison, the average extent of the 2012 drought was 59.7 percent. Read more

Mediterranean, Semi-Arid Ecosystems Prove Resistant to Climate Change

Climate change predictions for the Middle East, like other arid regions of the world, are alarming. In an area known for its water scarcity, rainfall is expected to decrease even further in the near future, spelling disaster for the functioning of unique ecosystems — hotspots of biodiversity and rich genetic fodder for essential crops.

To test these dire predictions, Prof. Marcelo Sternberg of the Department of Molecular Biology and Ecology of Plants at Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Life Sciences, together with ecologists from the University of Tübingen in Germany, subjected natural ecosystems to an experimental drought over the course of nine years, simulating predicted future climate scenarios.

In the course of their experiment, conducted in four different ecosystems ranging from desert (3.5 inches of annual rainfall) to moist Mediterranean woodland (30.7 inches of annual rainfall), the researchers found that, contrary to predictions, no measurable changes in annual vegetation could be seen. None of the crucial vegetation characteristics — neither species richness and composition, nor density and biomass (particularly important for ecosystems traditionally used as rangelands) — had changed appreciably in the course of the rainfall manipulations. Read more

Who’s Afraid of Global Warming? A letter to the editor by Viv Forbes:

For decades green extremists have been spreading doomsday forecasts of global warming.

But where do we find the greatest abundance of life on land? Follow the equator around the globe – the Amazon, the Congo, Kenya, Indonesia and New Guinea – all places where it is warm and wet.

And where is life such a struggle that few species live there? Go towards the poles – Siberia and the cold deserts of Antarctica and Greenland.

Where do most tourists go in winter? Few go to Alaska or Iceland – most head towards the warmth of the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Black Sea and Bali.

Which season is most welcomed? It is not the first frost, nor the first snowstorm, but the first cherry blossoms, the first robins, and the welcome green shoots of new spring pasture.

Land life multiplies in summer – many mammals hibernate or die in winter.

Every nurseryman knows that plants grow best in a warm greenhouse with added carbon dioxide. Global warmth speeds up the life-supporting water and carbon cycles – warming oceans expel the gases of life (carbon dioxide and water vapour) producing more clouds, more precipitation and more plant growth.

This is why the warm eras of the past are remembered as periods of plenty – the cold eras are times of hunger, migrations and war.

Life on Earth has never been threatened by greenhouse warming. It is the sudden plunge into an ice age that we need to fear.

Green alarmists should venture from their cosy offices and coffee shops and celebrate the welcome warmth of our global greenhouse while it lasts.

Warmth is good. (Source)

US Having Its Coolest Year On Record

by Steven Goddard, Real Science

The percentage of US HCN stations to reach 90 degrees was the smallest on record this year, with four of the five coolest years occurring above 350 PPM CO2. The most widespread heat occurred in 1931, when more than 98% of stations were over 90 degrees.

ENERGY

Claim: Cheap energy stimulates the economy too much – Natural Gas will not reduce CO2

by Anthony Watts

Eric Worrall writes: A new study published in Nature has revealed that switching to cheap Natural Gas will not reduce CO2 significantly, because all that cheap energy will stimulate the economy so much that we will all use more energy. Read more Darn, we better not stimulate the economy.

Study: Improved electricity access has little impact on climate change

by Anthony Watts

From the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Improving household electricity access in India over the last 30 years contributed only marginally to the nation’s total carbon emissions growth during that time, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“Energy access is fundamental to development: it brings improvements to all aspects of life, including education, communication, and health,” says IIASA researcher Shonali Pachauri, who conducted the study. Read more

British study shows wind power generates only 2 percent of rated capacity

A new study by The Scientific Alliance and the Adam Smith Institute claims that electricity generated by wind turbines throughout the UK is only two percent of its combined turbine rated capacity.

“This study provides a rigorous quantitative assessment of wind variability and intermittency based on nine years of hourly measurements of wind speed on 22 sites across the country.” The researchers obtained wind data and calculated how much electricity would have been produced from modern wind turbines. They had to do the study this way because the wind industry does not make actual production figures public even though the industry is heavily subsidized by taxpayers.

Although it is claimed that the wind is always blowing somewhere in the UK, the model reveals this ‘guaranteed’ output is only sufficient to generate something under 2 % of nominal output.” Read more at Wryheat

EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Huge Electric Sector Impacts, Undetectably Small Climate Benefits — Study

by Marlo Lewis (source).

A new report by NERA Economic Consulting finds that EPA’s Clean Power Plan will:

Be the most expensive environmental regulation ever imposed on the electric power sector. The rule will cost state power sectors between $41 billion and $73 billion per year (EPA estimates ‘only’ $8.8 billion annually), and $336 billion to $479 billion over 15 years.

Cause double digit electricity price rate hikes in 43 states. Electricity prices will increase by an average of 12% to 17%. Fourteen states will face price increases up to 20%.

Retire 45,000 megawatts (MW) of coal generation capacity (more than the electricity output of all New England states combined). That’s on top of 70,000 MW of coal-fired generation in 42 states already slated to retire due to other EPA policies and low natural gas prices.

Have disproportionate impacts on low- and middle-income households and seniors on fixed incomes, who already struggle with high energy costs.

Have no measurable effects on climate change. By 2050, the Plan would, in theory, reduce sea-level rise by 1/100th of an inch (the thickness of three sheets of paper), and reduce average global temperatures by less than 2/100ths of a degree.

To read the full NERA study, click on Potential Energy Impacts of the EPA Proposed Clean Power Plan. To read a brief overview of the study’s conclusions, click on NERA Study Key Points.

Green Energy and Red Tape

By Katie Tubb and Jack Spencer, Heritage Foundation

Nuclear reactors are designed to withstand severe weather, earthquakes, even airplane crashes. But how much more handling from the federal government they can endure remains to be seen.

Many government-induced problems plague the commercial nuclear-power industry, from oppressive export regulations to post-Fukushima standards that might make sense in a Washington office but not on the floor of a power plant. But the biggest problem holding back American nuclear power, in which the Obama administration has been particularly obstructive, is the management of nuclear waste.

The trouble started in 1982 when Congress gave the Department of Energy (DoE) the responsibility to collect and dispose of all the nation’s commercial nuclear waste. Congress subsequently chose to build a national repository by 1998 at Yucca Mountain, in Nevada, pending approval of a license by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Though the scheme was imperfect and fell greatly behind schedule, it at least was a plan.

After many delays, and with the NRC’s evaluation of the site finally well under way, in 2010 President Obama ignored Congress and ordered the Department of Energy to end its Yucca Mountain program. The NRC followed suit. With nearly 70,000 metric tons of used nuclear fuel sitting in temporary storage at nuclear plants and government facilities across the country, waiting to be collected by the DoE, President Obama left America’s commercial nuclear reactors, the Department of Defense, and federal regulators with no waste policy at all, and wasting the more than $15 billion in taxpayer money and electricity users fees already spent for the unfinished Yucca Mountain repository project. That’s not to mention the billions more in federal liability as commercial nuclear companies sue the government for its broken promise to start collecting waste a dozen years earlier. Moreover, until recently, the NRC took a sabbatical from renewing or issuing new operating licenses to nuclear power plants because it could not be confident that waste would be collected by the government. Read full article

UT study finds fracking uses same amount of water as conventional oil production

By Aimée Santillán, The Daily Texan

A study led by a UT researcher found that the amount of water used for unconventional gas and oil production, such as hydraulic fracturing, is about the same as is used for conventional production.

“We’re using more water for hydraulic fracturing because we’re producing more oil using hydraulic fracturing,” Scanlon said. “It is not because hydraulic fracturing is more water-intensive per unit of oil production.” Read more

New study estimates that wind turbines in the U.S. and Canada cause about 134,000 to 230,000

small-passerine fatalities from collision with wind turbines occur annually. Passerines are perching birds or songbirds. Read full paper

MISCELLANEOUS ARTICLES

New Mexico Investigator Offers Stern Wolf Warning To Arizona

By Tammy Gray

Wolves are the main killers of cattle in Catron County, N.M., and are setting a record for the number of confirmed kills in 2014.

Catron County, which borders eastern Arizona and is included in the Gila National Forest, is the site of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. It was one of the first areas where Mexican gray wolves were released in an effort to reestablish their population in western states.

According to Catron County Wildlife Investigator Jess Carey, the results have been devastating to local ranchers. In a report titled Mexican Wolf Recovery Collateral Damage Identification in Catron County alone, he noted that of five ranches he studied, two went out of business and a third did not restock cattle after 2009. Over the course of the study, the five ranches lost a total of 651 head of cattle valued at more than $382,000.

“The negative effects to livestock producers caused by Mexican Wolves are a wide spectrum not addressed and/or ignored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Prior negative data and documentation of wolf recovery from other states were not utilized to mitigate the same negative effects of Mexican wolf recovery in New Mexico and Arizona,” he noted.

Carey also pointed out that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not take into account other types of damage to cattle operations, such as stress deaths caused by wolves running cattle, or loss of production by cows due to stress created by the presence of wolves. He noted that the department “demands that ranchers change their entire husbandry scheme to accommodate the presence of wolves; if the rancher refuses, no compensation is paid on wildlife services findings on confirmed or probable livestock depredations.”

Read the full article from the Arizona Journal.

Forest thinning may increase runoff and supplement our water supply

A study conducted by The Nature Conservancy and Northern Arizona University recommends accelerated forest thinning by mechanical means and controlled burns in Central Arizona forests will increase runoff, add to our water supply and make forest more resilient.

“In this study, we explored the ways in which a new era of forest management, including accelerating the pace and scale of forest thinning, could be used to address declining conditions in forests in central and northern Arizona. At about 6,000 hectares per year (15,000 acres/year), the current pace of mechanical thinning in these forests does not begin to match the magnitude of recent forest disturbances. However, a new congressionally funded program called the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (hereafter “4FRI”) will accelerate the use of mechanical thinning and prescribed burns across four national forests, treating 238,000 ha (588,000 acres) in the first analysis area over the next 10 years.” Read Full Study

“Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and promoted by mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.” – Chet Beates

“Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle.” -Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

“[T]he crisis is arrived when we must assert our rights, or submit to every imposition, that can be heaped upon us, till custom and use shall make us as tame and abject slaves.” –George Washington (1774)

“When people act with rational self-interest they also act with self-responsibility and they tend to maximize their productivity along with their wealth. This is good for society and it’s representative of a society always in growth and forward motion.” – Michael J. Hurd

“The natural cure for an ill-administration, in a popular or representative constitution, is a change of men.” —

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.

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