2019-01 JANUARY

People for the West -Tucson

Newsletter, January, 2019

PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868

  pfw-tucson@cox.net


Real environmentalism can go hand in hand with natural resource production, private property rights, and access to public lands


China, Politics, and Critical Minerals

by Jonathan DuHamel

Our modern society depends on access to rare earth minerals (REM) and other critical minerals. Such minerals are used in the manufacture of liquid-crystal displays on computer monitors and televisions, fiber optic cables, magnets, glass polishing, DVD and USB drives in the computer, catalytic converters, and petroleum cracking catalysts, batteries (the Prius uses 10 pounds of lanthanum), fluorescent lights, missiles, jet engines, and satellites. In other words, these elements are critical to our high-technology world.

Currently the U.S. imports 71% of the rare earth minerals we use from China. Given the existing political climate, that supply is not assured. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, an estimated 13 percent of the world’s REM resources are primarily in the western U.S. on protected Bureau of Land Management lands. According to one USGS estimate, untouched REM deposits in North America could produce more than twice the amount of REMs used in U.S. industries today. (Source)

But the ability to exploit our domestic sources of critical minerals depends largely on politicians granting access for exploration and development. With the change to Democrat control of the U.S. House of Representatives, that access is questionable. Democrat Raúl Grijalva is the current “ranking member” of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and may become the chairman. That will be bad news. Grijalva (my own Congressman) is anti-mining and a good friend to radical environmentalists. I suspect that he will block any attempt to exploit our domestic resources of critical minerals. He will hear from me.

 

For some background, see my posts:

USGS publication: “Critical mineral resources of the United States

See also: Rare Earths Resources in the US

and: China Controls Rare Earth Elements Supply

and an American Thinker article: Risky Reliance: The US’s Dependence on China for Rare Earth Minerals ☼

 

A Reminder for Arizona Residents

Please petition the Arizona legislature to repeal the existing renewable energy mandate imposed upon us by the Arizona Corporation Commission. Details may be found in the lead article of the December issue of this newsletter: https://wryheat.wordpress.com/people-for-the-west/2018-archive/2018-12-December/ 

 

PROPERTY RIGHTS

Supreme Court Limits Ability To Designate Endangered Species Habitat

By Brendan Campbell

The Supreme Court made it harder for the government to designate critical habitat for endangered species, in a ruling that business and property rights groups said corrects bureaucratic overreach.

The case concerns the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to designate a 1,544-acre tract in Louisiana as critical habitat for dusky gopher frogs – even though no frogs lived there and it would not have been ideal habitat at the time it was designated.

As part of its review, the government determined that the habitat designation could cost the landowners up to $33.9 million in potential lost development. But the service determined the cost was reasonable and that Unit 1 – now a closed-canopy tree plantation – could be restored to suitable frog habitat with “reasonable effort.”

The Weyerhaeuser Co. and a group of family landowners sued, challenging the government’s determination that the cost was reasonable and claiming that Unit 1 could hardly be called critical habitat if it was unable to sustain the frogs.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the Endangered Species Act does not authorize the Interior secretary “to designate the area as critical habitat unless it is also habitat for the species.” Read more ☼

 

ENVIRONMENT

Trump Takes Steps to Prevent Catastrophic Forest Fires, Including More Logging

by Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller

President Donald Trump moved forward with policies aimed at preventing catastrophic wildfires while the media breathlessly covered the government funding battle.

Trump issued an executive order to allow for active management of forest and rangelands, including thinning and removing debris from millions of acres of federal lands.

The order also calls on federal officials to streamline regulations and permitting processes to allow the harvest of at least 3.8 billion board feet from U.S. Forest Service lands and 600 million board feet from Bureau of Land Management lands.

Trump also asked federal officials to do more to maintain roads into hard-to-reach areas where fires can spread. Read more ☼

 

Extreme Wildfires Caused By Extreme Stupidity, not Global Warming

by Dr. Tim Ball

In the push for strong action at this year’s United Nations climate change conference in Katowice, Poland, a common refrain is that rising carbon dioxide levels (CO2) will supposedly result in global warming that will increase the incidence of disastrous wildfires.

Rising temperatures and increasing CO2 both act to increase soil moisture and so reduce the potential of fires. When temperatures rise, evaporation increases, causing more precipitation which increases soil moisture and so lessens fire risk. As CO2 rises, stomata, the pores in plant’s leaves, are open for shorter lengths of time. Plants therefore lose less water to the air and so more of it stays in the soil, again reducing fire potential. Read more ☼

 

Washington environmental expert: Plastic bag ban does more harm than good

By Nicole Jennings

Todd Myers, director of the Washington Policy Center’s Center for the Environment, told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that a plastic bag ban actually creates more problems for the environment than it solves. Plastic bag ban advocates argue that the measure is necessary to help de-pollute the world’s oceans. However, Myers pointed out, most of the plastic clogging ocean waters did not come from the U.S.

“Sri Lanka, which is basically a small island off of India, puts five times as much plastic into the ocean as the entire United States,” Myers stated. As Myers noted, ironically, a person who carries a reusable cotton tote bag at the grocery store instead of single-use plastic bags would actually need to use the cotton bag 300 times to break even for the amount of pollution caused by the production of one cotton bag.

Growing cotton requires fertilizer, which runs into rivers, causing a process called eutrophication, during which oxygen is removed from the water. Eutrophication creates “dead zones” in bodies of water, where organisms cannot survive due to the low level of oxygen.

“At the end of the day, plastic does use less energy to make, and it does cause less impact on water pollution,” Myers said. Read more ☼

 

The Greenpeace business model

1. “Invent an ‘environmental problem’ which sounds somewhat plausible. Provide anecdotal evidence to support your claims, with emotionally powerful imagery.

2. Invent a ‘simple solution’ for the problem which sounds somewhat plausible and emotionally appealing, but is physically unlikely to ever be implemented.

3. Pick an ‘enemy’ and blame them for obstructing the implementation of the ‘solution’. Imply that anybody who disagrees with you is probably working for this enemy.

4. Dismiss any alternative ‘solutions’ to your problem as ‘completely inadequate’”.

Read more from the Heartland Institute. ☼

 

ENERGY

 

USGS Announces Largest Continuous Oil Assessment in Texas and New Mexico

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced the Wolfcamp Shale and overlying Bone Spring Formation in the Delaware Basin portion of Texas and New Mexico’s Permian Basin province contain an estimated mean of 46.3 billion barrels of oil, 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, according to an assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). This estimate is for continuous (unconventional) oil, and consists of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources.

“Christmas came a few weeks early this year,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “American strength flows from American energy, and as it turns out, we have a lot of American energy. Before this assessment came down, I was bullish on oil and gas production in the United States. Now, I know for a fact that American energy dominance is within our grasp as a nation.”

“In the 1980’s, during my time in the petroleum industry, the Permian and similar mature basins were not considered viable for producing large new recoverable resources. Today, thanks to advances in technology, the Permian Basin continues to impress in terms of resource potential. The results of this most recent assessment and that of the Wolfcamp Formation in the Midland Basin in 2016 are our largest continuous oil and gas assessments ever released,” said Dr. Jim Reilly, USGS Director. “Knowing where these resources are located and how much exists is crucial to ensuring both our energy independence and energy dominance.” Read more ☼

 

Solar Panel Waste: A Disposal Problem

By Jack Dini, Canada Free Press

The last few years have seen growing concern over what happens to solar panels at the end of their life. Consider the following statements:

– The problem of solar panel disposal will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment because it is a huge amount of waste which is not easy to recycle.

– Solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than do nuclear power plants.

– Contrary to previous assumptions, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be almost completely washed out of the fragments of solar modules over a period of several months by rain water.

– In countries like China, India, and Ghana, people living near e-waste dumps often burn the waste in order to salvage the valuable copper wires for resale. Since this process requires burning off plastic, the resulting smoke contains toxic fumes that are carcinogenic and teratogenic (birth-defect causing) when inhaled.

Solar photovoltaic panels, whose operating life is 20 to 30 years, lose productivity over time. The International Renewable Energy Agency estimated that there were about 250,000 metric tons of solar panel waste in the world at the end of 2016 and that this figure would definitely increase. Solar panels contain lead, cadmium, and other toxic chemicals that cannot be removed without breaking apart the entire panel. Read more ☼

 

Offshore wind power, a fraudulent fiasco

By Roger Bezdek and Paul Driessen, Washington Times

If you like power when it’s available, instead of when you need it, having your lights, heat, computer and TV go off and on 30 times a day; and paying 78 cents a kilowatt-hour instead of 9 cents, you’ll love Dominion (Virginia) Energy’s plan to install two Washington Monument-sized wind turbines off the Norfolk coast.

Virginia lawmakers recently approved an offshore wind project, with no competitive bidding and an estimated cost of $300 million. Virginians will pay 25 times the U.S. market price for the turbines, and then pay 78 cents/kilowatt-hour for their intermittent electricity. That’s 26 times the 3 cents per kWh wholesale price for coal, gas, hydroelectric or nuclear electricity in the Commonwealth.

State utility regulators blasted the decision. The legislature nevertheless enacted it at the behest of Gov. Ralph Northam, to demonstrate his commitment to “fighting climate change.” After the two “demonstration” turbines run awhile, they could be joined by hundreds more.

That forest of turbines would impact surface and submarine ship traffic, and constant vibration noises will impair marine mammals’ sonar navigation systems.

But when green preening and climate virtue-signaling is the objective, not even the Republican Virginia Legislature will be shackled by energy, environmental or economic reality. Here are some relevant facts. Consumers demand and require reliable, affordable electricity 24/7/365. Weather dependent, intermittent wind power requires 100 percent backup by coal or gas power plants that are running all the time on “spinning reserve,” ready to step in every time the wind dies down. That means extra costs, materials and fuels for the backup units. Read more ☼

 

Failed Oregon Solar Equipment Plant Leaves Behind Millions in Taxpayer Losses

By Bonner R. Cohen

A multi-year effort by federal, state, and local agencies to prop up an Oregon solar-panel manufacturer has ended in a shuttered factory, millions of taxpayer dollars down the drain, and a heavily polluted manufacturing site. Read more ☼

Germany’s green transition has hit a brick wall

by Oddvar Lundseng, Hans Johnsen and Stein Bergsmark

More people are finally beginning to realize that supplying the world with sufficient, stable energy solely from sun and wind power will be impossible.

Germany took on that challenge, to show the world how to build a society based entirely on “green, renewable” energy. It has now hit a brick wall. Despite huge investments in wind, solar and biofuel energy production capacity, Germany has not reduced CO2 emissions over the last ten years. However, during the same period, its electricity prices have risen dramatically, significantly impacting factories, employment and poor families. Read more ☼

 

Climate protests cost $91 billion in lost economic activity, chamber study finds

By Valerie Richardson – The Washington Times

Climate activists fighting to derail pipelines and other energy projects have blocked $91.9 billion in U.S. economic activity and hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to a new report.

“Infrastructure Lost: Why America Cannot Afford to ‘Keep It In the Ground,’” released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute, quantified the cost of projects delayed or canceled as a result of environmental protests.

The report analyzed 15 targeted projects, including the hotly contested Keystone XL pipeline, Constitution Pipeline, and Oregon LNG terminal, as well as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2014 fracking ban.

In addition to $91.9 billion in lost economic activity, the protests cost nearly 730,000 job opportunities and $20 billion in tax revenue to federal, state and local governments. Read more ☼

CLIMATE CHANGE

The Five Questions Global Warming Policy Must Answer

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

It is no secret that I doubt increasing CO2 in the atmosphere will have enough negative effects on the global environment to warrant the extreme cost to humanity of substantially reducing those effects. Note that this statement has both science and energy policy components. In fact, with “global greening” we should consider the possibility of net positive benefits.

The public perception of global warming risks has involved a mixture of exaggerated claims regarding both the science and the energy policy, instigated by a minority of activist scientists and amplified by an eager news media. In my Kindle e-book Global Warming Skepticism for Busy People, I list 5 questions I believe must be answered in the affirmative before embarking on any large-scale decarbonization of the global economy:

The Five Big Questions

1) Is warming and associated climate change mostly human-caused?

2) Is the human-caused portion of warming and associated climate change large enough to be damaging?

3) Do the climate models we use for proposed energy policies accurately predict climate change?

4) Would the proposed policy changes substantially reduce climate change and resulting damage?

5) Would the policy changes do more good than harm to humanity?

 

As I state in my book, it is not obvious that the answer to any of the five questions is yes, let alone all of them.

The dirty little secret is that the models are tuned so that only increasing CO2 causes warming, since the various uncertain sources of natural climate change are either not known well enough to include, or are purposely programmed out of the models. (How do I know? Because NONE of the natural energy flows in and out of the climate system are known to the accuracy [about 1%] needed to blame recent warming on increasing CO2, rather than on Mother Nature. Those natural energy flows in the models are simply forced to be in balance, and so the cause of model warming ends up being anthropogenic. Thus the models use circular reasoning to establish human causation.) Read more ☼

 

Read also my postThe Broken Greenhouse – Why Co2 Is a Minor Player in Global Climate

 

Millions Of Americans Have Voted With Their Feet For A Hotter Climate

Investor’s Business Daily

A new Census report shows that this year, the hottest states in the country had the biggest gains in population. Haven’t these people been listening to decades of warnings from climate change scientists about the myriad hazards of a warmer climate?

Climate scientists have been endlessly shouting that a slightly warmer planet will unleash all sorts of terrible things — more heat-related deaths, more hurricanes and storms, more diseases, more drought and the like.

Despite these admonitions, climate change never registers as a top concern among the public.

Perhaps one reason is that Americans have been steadily migrating to hotter climates for decades. And they’re doing so despite the increased risks they face.

According to Census data, the five states with the biggest gains in population this year are, in order: Texas, Florida, California, Arizona and North Carolina. What else do these states have in common? They are among the states with the highest average temperatures in the country. And the two biggest gainers — Texas and Florida — are the first and fourth hottest states, respectively, in the nation. Read more ☼

 

‘Climate Alarmism,’ ‘Propaganda’ Fill US Agency Websites, Report Finds

by Tim Pearce, Daily Caller

Multiple federal agencies are pushing agenda-driven climate science on their websites, according to The Heartland Institute.

The Trump administration has taken a public stance supporting fossil fuels and questioning the scientific “consensus” of climate change research.

Parts of federal websites should be overhauled or taken down completely to conform to the administration’s stance on climate change and fossil fuel energy production, Heartland says.

The agencies audited include NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Energy (DOE). While many parts of the agencies’ websites have endorsed Trump’s “energy dominance” agenda and plans to expand fossil fuel productions, other places have remained largely out of touch with the current administration.

Read the details from the Daily Caller, Read the Heartland Report ☼

 

Follow the (Climate Change) Money

by Stephen Moore

The first iron rule of American politics is: Follow the money. This explains, oh, about 80 percent of what goes on in Washington.

Shortly after the latest “Chicken Little” climate change report was published last month, I noted on CNN that one reason so many hundreds of scientists are persuaded that the sky is falling is that they are paid handsomely to do so.

I said, “In America and around the globe governments have created a multibillion dollar climate change industrial complex.” And then I added: “A lot of people are getting really, really rich off of the climate change industry.” According to a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Federal funding for climate change research, technology, international assistance, and adaptation has increased from $2.4 billion in 1993 to $11.6 billion in 2014, with an additional $26.1 billion for climate change programs and activities provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.”

This doesn’t mean that the planet isn’t warming. But the tidal wave of funding does reveal a powerful financial motive for scientists to conclude that the apocalypse is upon us. No one hires a fireman if there are no fires. No one hires a climate scientist (there are thousands of them now) if there is no catastrophic change in the weather. Why doesn’t anyone in the media ever mention this?

How big is the climate change industrial complex today? Surprisingly, no one seems to be keeping track of all the channels of funding. A few years ago, Forbes magazine went through the federal budget and estimated about $150 billion in spending on climate change and green energy subsidies during President Obama’s first term.

That didn’t include the tax subsidies that provide a 30 percent tax credit for wind and solar power — so add to those numbers about $8 billion to $10 billion a year. Then add billions more in costs attributable to the 29 states with renewable energy mandates that require utilities to buy expensive “green” energy.

Worldwide the numbers are gargantuan. Five years ago, a leftist group called the Climate Policy Initiative issued a study that found that “global investment in climate change” reached $359 billion that year. Then to give you a sense of how money-hungry these planet-saviors are, the CPI moaned that this spending “falls far short of what’s needed” a number estimated at $5 trillion.

Now here’s the real scandal of the near trillion dollars that governments have stolen from taxpayers to fund climate change hysteria and research. By the industry’s own admission, there has been almost no progress worldwide in combating climate change. The latest reports by the U.S. government and the United Nations say the problem is getting worse, and we have not delayed the apocalypse by a single day. Read more ☼

 

Termites Emit 2 Times More CO2 Than Humans. Soil Emits 9 Times More.

By Kenneth Richard

Researchers report that termites, digesting vegetable matter on a global basis, produce more than twice as much carbon dioxide as all the world’s smokestacks. Plant respiration and decay added 10 to 15 times as much carbon dioxide to the air as termites. Earth’s soil is releasing roughly nine times more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than all human activities combined. This huge carbon flux from soil, is due to the natural respiration of soil microbes and plant roots. (Source) ☼

 

Study Shows Organic Food Is Worse For The Climate

Organically farmed food has a bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed food, due to the greater areas of land required. This is the finding of a new international study involving Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, published in the journal Nature. The researchers developed a new method for assessing the climate impact of land-use, and used this, along with other methods, to compare organic and conventional food production. The results show that organic food can result in much greater emissions. Read more ☼

Parting Thoughts:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis

 

“It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives.” —John Adams

 

“During the course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been levelled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare.” —Thomas Jefferson

 

“In wine there is wisdom; in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.” – Benjamin Franklin

 

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Our Mission

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:

https://wryheat.wordpress.com/

See my essay on climate change:

https://wryheat.wordpress.com/climate-in-perspective/

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

pfw-tucson@cox.net

Jonathan DuHamel, President & Editor

Dr. John Forrester, Vice President

Lonni Lees, Associate Editor

People for the West – Tucson, Inc. is an Arizona tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) corporation. Newsletter subscriptions are free.

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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