People for the West -Tucson
Newsletter, July, 2019
PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868
Real environmentalism can go hand in hand with natural resource production, private property rights, and access to public lands
Remember the meaning of Independence Day
by Jonathan DuHamel
(Reprinted and revised from July 2016)
During a sultry July 243 years ago a group of 56 men, -among them doctors, educators, and clergy, aged 26 to 70, signed The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, a then treasonous document that would break the bonds between the 13 colonies and Mother England.
The fortunes of those 56 men were varied. Nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were jailed and brutally treated. One lost all 13 of his children; and the wives, sons and daughters of others were killed, imprisoned, harassed or deprived of all material possessions. Seventeen signers lost everything they owned, and all were hunted as traitors, with most separated from home and family. But none of the signers ever betrayed his pledged word. There were no defectors. No one changed his mind. Lives and fortunes were lost, but their sacred honor was never sacrificed.
The signing of the Declaration would pit a poorly equipped and badly trained militia of 10,000 men against an armada of British ships with 42,000 sailors and the British army.
The reasons for the break with Britain were laid out beginning with this basic principle:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Freedom was not free for those Colonial patriots, nor is it free today. But the further removed generations are from that more than two-centuries-old insubordination and the ensuing conflagration, the dimmer the magnitude of their dedication and sacrifice. In the comfort and security of freedom we are complacent; we take that great gift for granted.
Now we find ourselves in similar bonds of slavery as those who declared independence from England. We find the right to life, liberty and property threatened, not by an absent king, but by an increasing almighty and ever-present government; a government that has “erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”
In the “Seven Principles of Animalism” in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, those in power deliberately, letter by letter, smeared and blurred and eventually erased the seven original principles. The animals shook their heads and rubbed their eyes in astonishment and incredulity at the changes, but in the end were convinced that only one Principle had ever existed. It read, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Today we experience:
-that Politicians who wanted a means of legal plunder have changed the meaning of “welfare” from “the state of faring well” to “the redistribution of wealth.”
-that Freedom of religion and speech and the press have mutated to abolition of religion, politically correct speech, and an advocacy press.
-that “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” has metamorphosed into a protection for criminals–who acquire their guns on the black market–while law-abiding citizens are having them stripped away.
-that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” has been trampled by governmental agencies that trespass on private land in search of endangered species which are used to confiscate the land and a government that electronically spies on our every communication.
-that State Powers have been appropriated by the Federal Government via legislation, executive order and bureaucratic regulation.
In the song, “God Bless the USA,” Lee Greenwood sings, “the flag still stands for freedom, and they can’t take that away.” Every new regulation takes freedoms away. Every new bureaucracy takes freedoms away. Every new government intrusion takes freedoms away.
The Declaration provided a list of grievances against King George. In one form or another, many of those grievances can be applied to our current federal bureaucracy which has become bloated and dictatorial.
Our Americanism and our Constitution are on the endangered species list, and it’s time to reclaim both.
“A mere demarcation on parchment of the constitutional limits of the several departments, is not a sufficient guard against those encroachments which lead to a tyrannical concentration of all the powers of government in the same hands.” –James Madison, Federalist No. 48, 1788.
“The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” —James Madison (1829) ☼
Supreme Court dishes property owners a Fifth Amendment victory
By Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.
In a decision that sent chills down the spines of environmental groups and raised the spirits of property rights advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court, on June 21, removed a significant legal barrier that, for decades, had effectively barred aggrieved landowners from challenging local ordinances in federal court.
The court’s 5-4 ruling restores property rights to the full constitutional status the Framers envisioned when they included the Fifth Amendment’s Taking Clause in the Bill of Rights, opening federal courts to property owners seeking “just compensation” for the taking of their property by government.
Property owners’ access to federal courts had been effectively blocked since 1985, when the Supreme Court, in what is known as its Williamson precedent, ruled that landowners must first bring takings claims against local governments to state courts before proceeding to federal court. Williamson is short for Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City. (Read more) ☼
The Importance of Property Rights
Consider the case of property rights. They are important in capitalism and minor or missing under socialism. Under capitalism some property rights systems include rights to subsurface minerals. In general, the US has them and Europe does not. This seemingly minor difference has generally allowed fracking to flourish in the US and flounder in Europe.
Capitalism provides some protections for property rights and usually allows people to use their property to make profits regardless of what current popular beliefs may hold. Under capitalism, property rights give someone a reason to object if their property rights are infringed. (Read full post) ☼
Growing Drive to Destroy the Beef Industry
By Tom Deweese
The American beef industry has long been a tasty target of the environmentalists and their allies in the animal rights movement. To understand the reason is to know that protecting the environment is not the goal, rather the excuse in a determined drive for global power. Their selected tactic is to control the land, water, energy, and population of the Earth. To achieve these ends requires, among other things, the destruction of private property rights and elimination of every individual’s ability to make personal lifestyle choices, including personal diet. According to the environmental “experts”, there are ten reasons why the meat industry does not meet sustainable standards: (Read more from Canada Free Press). ☼
The National Environmental Policy Act Belongs in a Museum
By Kenny Stein, Real Clear Energy
NEPA is a bureaucratic force of nature that predates even the Environmental Protection Agency. Its effect is seen when legislative calls to revitalize America’s infrastructure are treated as a joke, and with little wonder. It’s well known that even if a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill were passed, prospective projects would be held up for years due to NEPA and a host of other regulatory beasts. If America wants to get serious about energy infrastructure, political leaders first must get serious about retiring or significantly reforming NEPA. (Read more)
For a more in-depth look at NEPA, see my post: How NEPA Crushes Productivity ☼
Department of Commerce Recommends Significant Reforms for Minerals Permitting
The National Mining Association (NMA) applauded the recommendations of a new U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) report which aim to ensure a reliable supply of minerals in the U.S. The report is the culmination of months of collaborative work with various U.S. agencies in response to Executive Order (EO) 13817, “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.”
“The report’s recommendations show an important and encouraging recognition that minerals play a vital role in our economy and that we can and will do better when it comes to minerals permitting,” said Hal Quinn, NMA president and CEO. “For too long, U.S. mining has been hampered by a complex and fractured permitting process that has stretched approval timelines to a decade, compared with just two to three years in other countries with environmental standards as stringent as ours. The steps outlined in this report will go a long way in unlocking the value of all our domestic mineral resources while continuing strict environmental protections.”
While the report specifically mentions critical minerals, it also notes that any recommendations to improve permitting processes for critical minerals will improve permitting processes for all minerals administered by federal land management agencies.
The Facts about Permitting Delays and Import Dependence
The U.S. government’s process for securing the necessary mine permits now takes close to 10 years – one of the longest mine permitting processes in the world. By comparison, permitting processes in Australia and Canada, which have similar environmental standards and practices as the U.S., take between two and three years. These permitting delays have been called the most significant risk to mining projects in the United States.
Despite being home to reserves estimated at $6.2 trillion, cumbersome permitting processes contribute to the U.S. importing $5 billion in minerals from foreign countries each year. We remain import dependent for 18 key minerals resources and more than 50 percent import-dependent for an additional 30 mineral commodities used in everyday manufacturing and defense applications. Less than half of the minerals U.S. manufacturers need are sourced domestically, despite the nation’s abundant mineral endowment.
Key Recommendations from the Report
The DOC collected input from agencies including the Department of Interior, the Department of Defense and others, and recommended a number of key reforms that, together, will help to minimize permitting delays and raise awareness about the strategic importance of minerals to our country’s economy and national security. Recommendations include: improving access to domestic critical mineral resources on federal lands and reducing federal permitting timeframes; consideration of mining under projects covered by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41); encouraging and incentivizing U.S. private industry investment and innovation in developing, expanding, modernizing and sustaining capabilities and industrial-scale capacity throughout the supply chain; among other specifics.
Specific examples of processes that industry believes could be streamlined or improved to increase access to domestic critical mineral resources include:
Avoiding duplicative reviews: the lead agency shall defer to and rely on baseline data, analyses and reviews performed by state agencies with jurisdiction over the proposed project.
Concurrent reviews: federal agencies should conduct any consultations or reviews concurrently rather than sequentially to expedite the process.
Establish timelines for each major step of the process including: scoping of the analysis; baseline studies required under applicable law and use of existing studies already conducted for state or federal authorizations; draft EIS or similar analysis under NEPA; submission and review of public and agency comments; publication of any required public notices; and final decisions.
Directives clearly setting forth that the permitting agency is not required to consider or respond to comments received after the close of any comment period.
Encourage use of Memorandums of Agreement between the agencies and project proponents that will set goals and timelines for each step of the process. (Source) ☼
Without Mining, There Is No ‘Green Revolution’
By Stephen Moore and Ann Bridges
The recent threats by Beijing to cut off American access to critical mineral imports has many Americans wondering why our politicians have allowed the United States to become so overly-dependent on China for these valued resources in the first place.
Today, the United States is 90 percent dependent on China and Russia for many vital “rare earth minerals.”
The main reason for our over-reliance on nations like China for these minerals is not that we are running out of these resources here at home. The U.S. Mining Association estimates that we have at least $5 trillion of recoverable mineral resources.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports that we still have up to 86 percent or more of key mineral resources like copper and zinc remaining in the ground, waiting to be mined.
These resources aren’t on environmentally sensitive lands, like national parks, but on the millions of acres of federal, state and private lands.
The mining isn’t happening because of extremely prohibitive environmental rules and a permitting process that can take 5-10 years to open a new mine. Green groups simply resist almost all new drilling.
What they may not realize is that the de facto mining prohibitions jeopardize the “Green Energy Revolution” that liberals so desperately are seeking.
How is this for rich irony: To make renewable energy at all technologically plausible, will require massive increases in the supply of rare earth and critical minerals.
Without these valuable metals, there will not be more efficient 21st-century batteries for electric cars, or modern solar panels. Kiss the Green New Deal and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ utopian vision of 100 percent renewable energy goodbye.
Yet for decades now, environmentalists have erected every possible barrier to mining here in America for critical minerals — which we have in great abundance. (Read more) ☼
These Wasteful Government Programs Need to Go
David Ditch (link)
The newly released “2019 Congressional Pig Book” from Citizens Against Government Waste helps to expose the corruption behind many government programs.
The Heritage Foundation’s “Blueprint for Balance,” focuses on cuts to overreaching and underperforming government programs. ☼
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Wind and solar are already costing you money
By Dr. Jay Lehr
We now generate 5% of our energy from wind and 1% from solar. It is a safe argument that once we quarry the cement required and mine and refine the steel and aluminum and mine the rare earths that every wind turbine requires, industrial wind turbines can not even be considered green. Yet at least 23 states require that their electric utilities obtain some portion of the electricity they sell from renewable sources. In all cases in our nation they mean wind and solar farms. In most cases this energy costs at least three times more than conventional fossil fuel power plants. Were they not subsidized by the Federal government (your taxes) and often state subsidies, for these sources of power, they would cost 6 or 7 times more than natural gas and coal. When wind and solar costs are folded into your electricity bill, it is raised considerably for most Americans.
Natural gas plants supply 34% of our electricity, coal plants 30%, hydro-electric power plants supply 7%, nuclear power plants supply 20%, and as stated above 6% is from wind and solar installations. (Read more) ☼
Net Zero Emissions Will Never Be “Achieved;” Reduced Global CO2 Emissions Will Be Hard Enough
by Alan Carlin
The basic position of the climate “environmentalists” (CEs) on energy has long been that CO2 emissions should be drastically reduced (which, they claim, would reduce global temperatures). They are trying to achieve this while being anti-nuclear, anti-fracking, and anti-fossil fuels. They instead favor “renewables” except hydro power. They favor government intervention to achieve these energy policy objectives, and oppose leaving energy source decisions to the economic marketplace.
Now the most alarmist CEs are advocating net zero emissions of CO2 by various arbitrary dates that happen to be divisible by ten, such as 2030, 2040, or 2050. These “net zero” goals and plans are even less likely to be achieved than previous objectives.
The CEs have little hope of achieving their former CO2 objectives as a result of the policies they advocate, even assuming full implementation of the Paris “Treaty,” which is extremely unlikely.
In 2018 global emissions rose, not fell, in large part because of a rapid rise in emissions by China, India, and other less developed nations. These increases are expected to continue for the indefinite future, and need to if these nations are to provide a better life for their citizens. Readily available energy to supplement human manual labor is the best if not the only approach to providing an improved life for those living in less developed countries. As Professor Richard Muller has stated: “the Developing World is not joining-in with CO2 emission reductions nor should it have any intention of doing so. The failure of worldwide action negates the unilateral action of any individual Western Nation.” This has not prevented the CEs from proposing evermore draconian objectives and plans for achieving them. (Read more) ☼
Isle of Man Seabird Populations Plummet as Wind Farms Overwhelm the Irish Sea
by Jason Endfield
Herring Gulls are down 82%, European Shag down 51%, Razorbills down 55%. The list goes on… The world’s biggest offshore wind farm is just a few miles away. Isn’t there a conspicuous connection?
The Isle Of Man wildlife charity Manx Birdlife has reported a shocking 40% decline in the populations of many species of sea birds around the island’s coast.
The worrying figures emerged following a comprehensive census that took place over two years. Whatever the reason for the sharp decline of the birds, it illustrates that something has gone very wrong.
I’ve noted with interest that this unprecedented drop in populations, of several of the island’s maritime species, coincides with the proliferation of wind farms in the Irish Sea – something which has worried me during the past few years, as I have witnessed the frenzied development of the wind industry in the waters off the western coasts of England and Wales. (Read more) ☼
The 100 Percent Renewable Energy Myth
Advocates for wind and solar energy are trying to convince Americans that the economy can thrive on 100 percent renewable energy. However, wind and solar energy are intermittent sources that currently need back up power from reliable energy sources like coal, nuclear, and natural gas to keep the lights on, keep our homes heated, and keep our factories running. The truth is, the physics of wind and solar energy render 100 percent renewable energy nothing more than a myth. These technologies can only operate if the sun shines or the wind blows, requiring large amounts of storage for back up. Additionally, their land area requirements are immense, they have much lower capacity factors compared to traditional sources, and the cost of transition would be enormous. Bottom line: setting a national goal of relying upon 100 percent renewable energy within a decade would lead to catastrophe. (Read full report) ☼
EIA data shows wind & solar met 3% of U.S. energy after $50 billion in subsidies
by Larry Hamlin
The EIA AEO 2019 report shows that in year 2018 wind and solar energy resources provide about 3% of U.S. total energy consumption while fossil fuel energy resources provide about 81% of total energy use. Without government driven mandates to use renewables and without generous federal Production Tax Credit subsidies which provide for most if not all of the capital cost recovery for these projects few of these plants would be built. (Read more) ☼
Carbon Taxes Increase Global Co2 Emissions
By Spencer P Morrison, National Economics Editorial
Not only does the logic show that carbon taxes in the West will invariably increase global CO2 emissions, but so does the empirical evidence.
As the hysteria over global warming heats up, carbon taxes have become the “cool” option. Environmentalists love them. So do politicians, who are more than happy to raise taxes while scoring political points.
Carbon taxes, or other analogous pricing schemes, are now prevalent in Western Europe, and are making headway in North America. For example, California recently joined forces with the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec to create an integrated cap-and-trade carbon market.
On top of this, many well-known economists support carbon taxes, thinking they’re the best way to mitigate man’s contribution to climate change. A new report written by thirteen leading economists under the direction of professors Nicholas Stern and Joseph Stiglitz recommends the adoption of a global carbon tax.
The tax would value carbon emissions somewhere between 50 and 100 USD per ton by 2030, and would cost upwards of $4 trillion. Theoretically, the tax would raise the cost of using carbon-intensive sources of energy, thereby nudging producers to switch from fossil fuels to “green energy” sources like wind and solar power. Likewise, it would raise the cost of electricity, thus creating an incentive to use energy more efficiently.
This makes sense in theory. There’s just one problem. It won’t work.
In reality, carbon taxes are just that: taxes. They’re a money-grab disguised with good intentions. Worse still, carbon taxes will not reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
Instead, adopting carbon taxes in the West will actually raise global carbon emissions by off-shoring economic activity from relatively environmentally-friendly places, like the USA and Germany, to places with lax environmental laws, like China. (Read more) ☼
Federal Government to Offer One Million Acres in California for Oil and Gas Development
By H. Sterling Burnett
The Trump administration’s Bureau of Land Management has offered a detailed plan to open more than a million acres of public and private land in California to oil and gas development, including through the use of fracking.
If BLM’s lease sale goes forward, it would end a five-year moratorium on leasing federal land in California for oil and gas development. In 2013, a federal judge halted oil lease sales being offered by the Obama administration in Monterey County, ruling the government had violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it issued leases by failing to properly evaluate the environmental dangers of fracking. The BLM’s new plan came after the agency issued an environmental impact statement saying fracking could be undertaken without contributing to air or water pollution in the region. (Read more) ☼
A conversation with John Christy
John Christy is a climate scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) whose chief interests are satellite remote sensing of global climate and global climate change. In February 2019 he was named as a member of the EPA Science Advisory Board.
We should be applying the scientific method to claims scientists (and others) are making about the climate. In this case I downloaded the output from 102 climate model simulations used by the IPCC and compared the tropospheric temperature since 1979 between the models and several observational datasets, including the satellite dataset we generate. The models on average were warming the atmosphere at a rate significantly greater than the observations. This is a test result from which we can say the models failed, and thus one shouldn’t depend on model output to characterize the future climate.
One of the fundamental characteristics of the scientific method is that if we understand a system, then we can predict the behavior of that system. Our work in which we compare “predictions” from climate models against the actual changes of the real world indicate the current understanding of climate change is rather poor. This understanding is certainly not mature enough for regulatory policy. That certain experts and elites refuse to see the level of immaturity of understanding regarding climate, is astonishing.
However, it is understandable since climate is such a complex system, it is easier and more comforting for these elites to simply ignore the complexity and declare they believe CO2 is dangerous and we should believe them because of some status of authority they have garnered for themselves. They claim the “Science is Settled” only because they have not performed the necessary scientific tests which I believe would lead them to the opposite conclusion.
The evidence from satellite observations is very clear that the Earth has experienced considerable “greening” over the past 20 years, so this indicates that the extra CO2 we have put back into the atmosphere is having a very positive impact on the biosphere. It should be noted that most of the living things around us developed in an atmosphere millions of years ago that contained four to ten times more CO2 than we have at the present.
I think the natural course of the climate has been changed, especially in urban areas where the natural surroundings have been drastically altered. Temperatures are warmer (especially at night) in these urban areas. Globally, the climate impact of the extra CO2, I believe, is actually smaller than the urban warming signal in our big cities. (Read more) ☼
Dr. Judith Curry testimony on climate change and natural disasters
The paradox of weather disasters is that they are at the same time highly surprising, as well as quite predictable. We shouldn’t be surprised by extreme weather events, when comparable events have occurred during the past century.
The sense that extreme weather events are now more frequent or intense, caused by manmade global warming, is symptomatic of ‘weather amnesia.’
The devastating impacts in 2017 from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria invoked numerous alarming statements about hurricanes and global warming. However, it’s rarely mentioned that 2017 broke an 11 year drought in U.S. major hurricane landfalls. This major hurricane drought is unprecedented in the historical record.
Of the 13 strongest U.S. landfalling hurricanes in the historical record, only three have occurred since 1970 (Andrew, Michael, Charley). Four of these strongest hurricanes occurred in the decade following 1926.
Recent international and national assessment reports acknowledge that there is not yet evidence of changes in the frequency or intensity of hurricanes, droughts, floods or wildfires that can be attributed to manmade global warming. (Read more) ☼
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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: 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
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.