People for the West -Tucson
PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868
Newsletter, September, 2017
Real environmentalism can go hand in hand with natural resource production, private property rights, and access to public lands
Hurricane Harvey and Houston flooding – what was not reported by the main stream media
by Jonathan DuHamel
You may have been watching news coverage of the devastating flooding in Houston, Texas, that was brought on by hurricane Harvey. Climate change alarmists are furthering their agenda by blaming the size and intensity of the storm on anthropogenic (man-made) global warming. Humans do carry some blame because if you build on flood plains, you will get wet occasionally. The current flooding is neither unprecedented nor the greatest (yet).
Houston is the seat of Harris County. The Harris County Flood Control District has a brief history of flooding in the area [link], excerpts:
When the Allen brothers founded Houston in 1836, they established the town at the confluence of Buffalo and White Oak Bayous. Shortly thereafter, every structure in the new settlement flooded. Early settlers documented that after heavy rains, their wagon trips west through the prairie involved days of walking through knee-deep water. Harris County suffered through 16 major floods from 1836 to 1936, some of which crested at more than 40 feet, turning downtown Houston streets into raging rivers.
On April 23,1937, the Texas legislature created the Harris County Flood Control District. Since the District’s creation, and despite a history of successful flood damage reduction projects and progress throughout Harris County, close to 30 damaging floods have occurred in the area, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in just under 70 years. However, after the 1940’s, the Harris County area did not suffer what would be considered a widespread, regional flood, that is, until June 2001.
Tropical Storm Allison suddenly formed 80 miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas, on Tuesday, June 5, 2001. No one expected that, five days later, it would go on record as one of the most devastating rain events in the history of the United States. Neither historical data nor weather forecasts could adequately predict this extraordinary storm that, before leaving the area, would dump as much as 80 percent of the area’s average annual rainfall over much of Harris County, simultaneously affecting more than 2 million people.
Why Houston Flooding Isn’t a Sign of Climate Change
by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
(Spencer was Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and is now the team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite.)
In the context of climate change, is what we are seeing in Houston a new level of disaster which is becoming more common? No.
The flood disaster unfolding in Houston is certainly very unusual. But so are other natural weather disasters, which have always occurred and always will occur.
Floods aren’t just due to weather
Major floods are difficult to compare throughout history because of the ways in which we alter the landscape. For example, as cities like Houston expand over the years, soil is covered up by roads, parking lots, and buildings, with water rapidly draining off rather than soaking into the soil. The population of Houston is now ten times what it was in the 1920s. The Houston metroplex area has expanded greatly and the water drainage is basically in the direction of downtown Houston.
There have been many flood disasters in the Houston area, even dating to the mid-1800s when the population was very low. A Category 4 hurricane struck Galveston in 1900, killing between 6,000 and 12,000 people. That was the greatest natural disaster in U.S. history. In December of 1935 a massive flood occurred in the downtown area as the water level height measured at Buffalo Bayou in Houston topped out at 54.4 feet.
By way of comparison, as of 6:30 a.m. this morning (August 28), the water level in the same location is at 38 feet, which is still 16 feet lower than in 1935. I’m sure that will continue to rise. Read more
Related “Anyone blaming Harvey on global warming doesn’t have a leg to stand on.” – Dr. Judith Curry (see post) (Curry was former Professor and Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is now President (co-owner) of Climate Forecast Applications Network)
Another related post by Spencer: Texas Major Hurricane Intensity Not Related to Gulf Water Temperatures (link). “I don’t know of any portion of global warming theory that would explain why Harvey stalled over southeast Texas. ☼
STATE OF THE UNION
Here are some stories of the nonsense going on:
Congress Quietly Passed A Bill Allowing Warrantless Searches of Homes – Only 1% Opposed It
by Tyler Durden
A bill that will allow homes to be searched without a warrant was passed with overwhelming support by the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Trump—and it happened with no media coverage and very little fanfare.
On the surface, House Joint Resolution 76 looks harmless. The title of the bill claims that its purpose is “Granting the consent and approval of Congress for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia to enter into a compact relating to the establishment of the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.”
However, there is one major red flag buried within the text of the bill that stems from the list of “powers” given to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, and it violates one of the basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution.
“In performing its duties, the Commission, through its Board or designated employees or agents, may: Enter upon the WMATA Rail System and, upon reasonable notice and a finding by the chief executive officer that a need exists, upon any lands, waters, and premises adjacent to the WMATA Rail System, including, without limitation, property owned or occupied by the federal government, for the purpose of making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing as the Commission may deem necessary to carry out the purposes of this MSC Compact, and such entry shall not be deemed a trespass.”
The text gives the Commission the authority to enter property near the Metro Rail System “without limitation” and without a warrant, for the purpose of “making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing.” Read more ☼
America’s Post-Charlottesville Nervous Breakdown Was Deliberately Induced
Americans are being emotionally manipulated to take up cause with those whose ultimate purpose is the repeal of the First Amendment and erasure of national memory. Americans are being emotionally manipulated to take up cause with those whose ultimate purpose is the repeal of the First Amendment and erasure of national memory. Read more ☼
Freedom for the Speech We Hate
by Judge Andrew Napolitano
Last weekend, serious violence broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, when a group of white supremacist demonstrators was confronted by a group of folks who were there to condemn the message the demonstrators had come to advance. Is hate speech protected under the Constitution? In a word, yes. In Charlottesville, the police failed to protect the right to free speech. That resulted in rioting. Read full article ☼
Former basketball star Charles Barkley on statues: “I’m 54 years old. I’ve never thought about those statues a day in my life. I think if you ask most black people to be honest, they ain’t thought a day in their life about those stupid statues. What we as black people need to do: we need to worry about getting our education, we need to stop killing each other, we need to try to find a way to have more economic opportunity and things like that. […] I’m wasting my time and energy screaming at a neo-Nazi or [saying] ‘Man, you’ve got to take this statue down.’” (Source) For that statement, Barkley was branded as a “black white supremacist.” (Source) ☼
Another Reason to Reject Wind Farms
There are a number of legitimate reasons for opposing wind farms; (1) they kill birds, bats and other animals, (2) they create undesirable ambient noise, (3) they blight the landscape and (4) the power they generate is far more costly per kilowatt hour than that obtained from conventional fossil fuels. Now, however, thanks to the studious research of six Chinese scientists (Tang et al., 2017), we can add a fifth reason for avoiding wind farms — they reduce the productivity of surrounding vegetation. Read more ☼
Biomass Now A Greater Source Of Pollution Than Cars
By Paul Homewood
A report by the Air Quality Expert Group into the impacts of biomass on air quality (in the UK). The results make for startling reading. (Biomass includes things like wood chip and other vegetation.)
Among the findings are:
1) Emissions of PM10 and PM2.5 from biomass more than doubled between 2002 and 2012, mainly due to domestic wood combustion and straw burning.
2) These figures for biomass are already well out of date, and almost certainly grossly understate the real figures. According to the Report, a new study by DECC last year (only published after this Report was drafted) claimed that the true figure for domestic wood consumption was three times as great as previously thought. This would push up emissions of PM2.5 from 10.6 to 31.0 Kt, meaning that domestic combustion alone was responsible for 30% of the UK’s emissions of PM2.5 in 2012.
3) There have been similar large rises in the share of emissions of carcinogenic benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) and dioxins, as emissions have declined from other sources. Read more☼
Politicians Can’t Get Enough Energy Cronyism
From solar to coal, politicians love to subsidize power production.
By Veronique de Rugy
Despite the breadth of the current political divide, it appears that there is at least one thing that all politicians can agree upon: energy sector cronyism. The only real dispute is over the preferred beneficiaries.
Under President Barack Obama, green energy subsidies were given out like candy. The failure of solar panel company Solyndra is well-known, but the problem extends well beyond the shady loan deal and its half-billion-dollar cost to taxpayers.
Between 2010 and 2013, federal subsidies for solar energy alone increased by about 500 percent, from $1.1 billion to $5.3 billion (according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), and all federal renewable energy subsidies grew from $8.6 billion to $13.2 billion over the same period. Congressional Budget Office testimony before Congress further reported that 59 percent, an estimated $10.9 billion, of energy-related tax preferences in 2016 went to renewables.
Subsidies have come down from their 2013 peak, thanks to the expiration of some of the post-financial crisis “stimulus” programs, but so-called green energy—solar in particular—still receives vastly higher subsidies on a per- kilowatt-hour basis. However, that didn’t stop the largest U.S. solar panel manufacturer, SolarWorld, from filing for bankruptcy earlier this year despite $115 million in federal and state grants and tax subsidies since 2012, along with $91 million in federal loan guarantees. Read more ☼
Why the Fossil Fuel Revolution Is Good for Both Humans and the Environment
by Alan Carlin
The fossil fuel revolution that started in the Eighteen and Nineteenth Centuries was not planned by governments. It occurred because humans found fossil fuels useful in their daily lives. In later years fossil fuels made possible even more useful forms of energy generated using fossil fuels, particularly electricity. With assistance from increasing human ingenuity, the result is much of the modern developed world. The difference can be seen by comparing Western developed economies with those of less developed economies (LDCs) around the world where use of fossil fuels is still very limited.
The great desire by people in the LDCs to migrate to the Western economies shows that there is a great preference for modern developed economies, in substantial part made possible by their use of fossil fuels. Humans are even willing to endanger their own lives in order to enjoy these and other benefits of Western developed economies. Read more ☼
Biofuel Justifications are Kaput
by Paul Driessen
The closest thing to earthly eternal life, President Ronald Reagan used to say, is a government program.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), created under the 2005 Energy Policy Act and expanded by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, is a perfect example. It has more lives than Freddy Krueger.
The laws require that refiners blend steadily increasing amounts of ethanol into gasoline, and expect the private sector to produce growing amounts of “cellulosic” biofuel, “biomass-based diesel” and “advanced” biofuels. Except for corn ethanol, the production expectations have mostly turned out to be fantasies. The justifications for renewable fuels were scary exaggerations then, and are absurd now.
Let’s begin with claims made to justify this RFS extravaganza in the first place. It would reduce pollution, we were told. But cars are already 95% cleaner than their 1970 predecessors, so there are no real benefits.
The USA was depleting its petroleum reserves, and the RFS would reduce oil imports from unstable, unfriendly nations. But the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) revolution has given the United States at least a century of new reserves. America now exports more oil and refined products than it imports, and US foreign oil consumption is now the lowest since 1970.
Renewable fuels would help prevent dangerous manmade climate change, we were also told. This assumes climate is driven by manmade carbon dioxide – and not by changes in solar heat output, cosmic rays, ocean currents and other powerful natural forces that brought ice ages, little ice ages, warm periods, droughts and floods. It assumes biofuels don’t emit CO2, or at least not as much as gasoline; in reality, over their full life cycle, they emit at least as much, if not more, of this plant-fertilizing molecule. Read more ☼
Federal Negligence Leads to Catastrophic Wildfires Across the West
As massive wildfires blaze across the West this week, the need to address the increasing wildfire threat is even more apparent. According to the Agriculture and Interior Departments, there are currently 19,000 interagency personnel fighting wildfires across 13 states. The Soda Fire that burned across southern Idaho and eastern Oregon consumed roughly 300,000 acres of rangeland, threatening the homes and lives of residents, livestock and wildlife.
While Washington bureaucrats call for more funds to suppress the growing fires, the Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association sent a letter to the White House today stressing the importance of proper natural resource management in order to help prevent these catastrophic events, and furthermore, the gross negligence and mismanagement of our nation’s forests and rangeland by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, wildfire suppression now costs the agency more than $1 billion annually and for the first time in its 110-year history, the agency is spending more than half of its budget on wildfire suppression. When the cost of suppression exceeds the budgeted amount, USFS is forced to reallocate funds from other programs to cover the cost of fire suppression, known as fire-borrowing. While PLC and NCBA believe that having fire suppression funds available to cover the cost of fighting fire and prevent fire-borrowing is important, the organizations firmly believe that proper forest and rangeland management is the key to reducing catastrophic wildfires in the first place.
PLC President Brenda Richards said the mismanagement of federally-owned forests and rangelands has created great economic hardship and danger for ranchers that depend upon the land.
“This year’s fire season has proven once again the federal mismanagement of our forests and rangeland,” said Richards, whose ranch has suffered damage in the current Idaho/Oregon fire. “The livestock industry and rural economies will spend decades attempting to recover from the millions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure damage and forage loss that have been the result of catastrophic wildfire in recent weeks and years, not to mention the loss of valuable wildlife habitat. Because of frivolous litigation and attempts to keep peace with extremists, our government agencies have hampered the most natural and cost-effective wildfire prevention techniques, and subsequently put the lives of ranching families like mine and others in rural communities at risk.” Read more ☼
Endangered Species Depend on Private Land, So Why Treat Landowners as the Enemy?
By Jonathan Wood, PERC
“You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
That familiar adage explains the simple proposition that incentives matter. Although most everyone concedes this obvious truth, government policy has a funny way of refusing to conform to it.
This is perhaps nowhere more true than environmental policy. Take the Endangered Species Act. Endangered species disproportionately rely on private property for habitat. So you might expect that the statute focuses on incentivizing property owners to maintain or improve habitat on their land for the benefit of species.
But you’d be sadly mistaken. Instead, the statute punishes the people whose land provides the last remaining habitat for dwindling species by imposing significant regulatory burdens on them.
One way that the statute does this is by broadly forbidding the “take” of endangered species, which prohibits a wide variety of ordinary land-use activities, like building a home, plowing a field, or cutting down a tree. The federal agency has actually made the situation worse by extending this prohibition to threatened species, undermining the incentive to recover endangered species by depriving landowners of any reward for successful recovery efforts.
The statute also burdens property owners through the designation of critical habitat, which further restricts land use. Most alarmingly, the federal agency charged with implementing the statute contends that it can designate private land as critical habitat even if it is not occupied by the species and would be inhospitable for the species.
In other words, the government contends that private land can be regulated as “critical habitat” even if it isn’t habitat at all. Read more ☼
How the Free Market Heals the Environment
By Dan Dagget
In this article, Dagget shows that land left to the free market is in better shape and more productive compared to land “protected” by government fiat. Read article
The article concludes: “Environmentalism thus reveals itself to be guilty of the very sin it was created to solve — pursuing not-for-profit profits and political power at the expense of the environment.” ☼
The Extreme Importance of Revoking the GHG Endangerment Finding
by Alan Carlin
Revoking the EPA’s Endangerment Finding (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. If a genuine debate is desired, it would best be undertaken as part of a reconsideration of the GHG Endangerment Finding where the outcome would have some practical and important consequences. Each day that this reconsideration is postponed increases the risks that EPA will be forced by court decisions to impose unjustified carbon dioxide emission reduction regulations based on implementing the EF. Read more
*In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency began classifying greenhouse gases as pollutants and regulating their emissions. ☼
REPORT: ‘Many Of The EPA’s Functions Could Be Abolished’
by Michael Bastasch
Many Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) programs are redundant and could be eliminated without hurting environmental quality, according to a new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) on reforming the federal bureaucracy.
CEI gave a series of recommendations on how to make EPA more transparent and accountable, including eliminating regional offices and changing science programs.
The group says EPA’s budget “is the most impenetrable of all federal department and agency budgets,” which makes it hard for Congress to know how taxpayer dollars are being spent. CEI wants EPA to do what other agencies do and put forward a budget that “clearly identifies the spender, how much they spend, and the legal basis for the spending.” Read more ☼
Researcher Claims To Have Evidence One Of EPA’s Most Successful Clean Air Rules Is Based On Fabricated Data
by Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller
One of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) longest and most successful air pollution standards is based on a taxpayer-funded study plagued by “data fabrication and falsification,” according to a veteran toxicologist.
Toxicologist Albert Donnay says he’s found evidence a 1989 study commissioned by EPA on the health effects of carbon monoxide, which, if true, could call into question 25 years of regulations and billions of dollars on catalytic converters for automobiles.
“They claimed to find an effect when there wasn’t one,” Donnay told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “They even fabricated the methods they used to get their results.”Read more ☼
Fido And Fluffy Are Ruining The Environment, UCLA Study Says
America’s beloved dogs and cats play a significant role in causing global warming, according to a new study by UCLA. By Paige Austin
Pet ownership in the United States creates about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, UCLA researchers found. That’s the equivalent of driving 13.6 million cars for a year. The problem lies with the meat-filled diets of kitties and pooches, according to the study by UCLA geography professor Gregory Okin. Read more ☼
France to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. See story
Britain to ban sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040. See story
Diesel and petrol car ban: Plan for 2040 unravels as 10 new power stations needed to cope with electric revolution. Plans to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in a bid to encourage people to buy electric vehicles are a “tall order” and will place unprecedented strain on the National Grid, motoring experts have warned. The extra electricity needed will be the equivalent of almost 10 times the total power output of the new Hinckley Point C nuclear power station being built in Somerset.
National Grid predicts Britain will become increasingly reliant on imported electricity, which will rise from around 10 per cent of total electricity to around one third, raising questions about energy security.
Just 4 per cent of new car sales are for electric vehicles, and concerns have also been raised about whether Britain will have enough charging points for the new generation of cars. ☼
‘Gone With the Wind’ screenings pulled from Memphis theater for racially ‘insensitive’ content
By Sasha Savitsky
A historic Memphis, Tennessee theater, the Orpheum Theatre, which has shown “Gone With the Wind” screenings for 34 years, has decided to remove the classic film from its schedule due to its racially “insensitive” content. Read more Note: Recently, Turner Classic Movies aired “Blazing Saddles” which is the all time most politically incorrect film. Good for TCM. ☼
‘White Shaming’ Is New Rage on College Campuses
An assistant professor at the University of Iowa who pledged to expose her students to “their own white ignorance” in a “peer-reviewed academic journal” was stunned and appalled that she was, well, criticized for it.
Jodi Linley, a white education instructor, wrote that her goal was to make her “mostly white” graduate students keenly aware of their “white privilege” and use her classroom to “deconstruct whiteness.” If she did otherwise, she explained, it would make her “complicit” in perpetrating white supremacy.
Here is the abstract of her paper:
“As a white assistant professor of mostly white graduate students who will become higher education leaders, I work to dismantle whiteness in my curriculum, assignments and pedagogy. I make meaning of my own white identity through my commitment to reflexivity as a constant activity. Equally salient are my identities as a queer, able-bodied, cisgender woman, who grew up working class in the rural Midwestern United States. This manuscript explores the ways my identities, experiences and teaching paradigm anchor my commitment to the work of deconstructing whiteness.” Read article Such is the state of college education today. ☼
ESPN Pulls Announcer For Having Same Name As Confederate General
by Ryan Saavedra
ESPN pulled an announcer from covering an upcoming college football game at the University of Virginia because he shares the same name as Confederate General Robert E. Lee – even though the announcer is Asian-American. Read more ☼
California Could Start Jailing People Who Don’t Use Transgender Pronouns
by Anders Hagstrom, Daily Caller
A bill that passed the California state senate and is now moving through the Assembly could threaten jail time for anyone who refuses to use a transgender person’s preferred pronoun.
The law is currently limited in its effects to nursing homes and intermediate-care facilities, but if passed, those who “willfully and repeatedly” refuse “to use a transgender resident’s preferred name or pronouns” could be slapped with a $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison. Read more ☼
The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he already knows, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him. – Leo Tolstoy, 1894
“Rather than confront our problems, now mobs arise to attack statues. Dr. Torrance Stephens explains that these are tangible evidence of our past, showing important and painfully learned lessons we cannot afford to forget. We can neither punish the dead nor destroy our past, no matter how many statues we knock down. Instead let’s focus our energies on building a better future. Knowing our history can help us do that.” – Fabius Maximus website
“It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)
“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” – Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi
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1) Support private property rights.
2) Support multiple use management of federal lands for agriculture, livestock grazing, mining, oil and gas production, recreation, timber harvesting, and water development activities.
3) Support a balance of environmental responsibility and economic benefit for all Americans by urging that environmental policy be based on good science and sound economic principles.
Newsletters can be viewed online on Jonathan’s Wryheat Blog:
See my essay on climate change:
A simple question for climate alarmists – where is the evidence
The Constitution is the real contract with America.
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People for the West – Tucson, Inc.
PO Box 86868
Tucson, AZ 85754-6868
Jonathan DuHamel, President & Editor
Dr. John Forrester, Vice President
Lonni Lees, Associate Editor
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