Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Canadian government to limit environmentalist obstruction of energy development

From Fox Business: the Canadians embrace federalism.

Excerpt:

The Canadian government released details Tuesday of its plan to dramatically streamline reviews for big energy and mining projects, capping the timeline for federal reviews and ceding more regulatory oversight to the country’s provinces.

The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said for months it would move to speed up the regulatory review of big energy, mining and infrastructure projects. It has expressed frustration at the sometimes-lengthy review timelines for big projects.

Mr. Harper’s government said in its annual budget announcement last month that it would cap federal reviews. Resources Minister Joe Oliver released details Tuesday, saying that federally-led hearings would be applied only to major initiatives that risk some environmental harm.

Further, the government said it was prepared to hand over more responsibility for the review to Canadian provinces, so long as their regulations meet or exceed federal standards. Canadian provinces already enjoy considerable regulatory oversight.

“It is counterproductive to have the federal and provincial governments completing separate reviews of the same project,” Oliver said in a speech in Toronto.

[...]The government had previewed in its budget last month that reviews for major projects would be limited to 24 months. Meanwhile, regular inter-provincial pipeline reviews, as conducted by the National Energy Board, would be limited to 18 months.

Oliver said Tuesday that Enbridge Inc.’s (ENB) proposed Northern Gateway pipeline – which envisions shipping oil from Alberta to Canada’s West Coast — would benefit from the quicker review. The line has been mired in stiff opposition from native groups in British Columbia, and the government has accused foreign-funded environmental groups of tying up the project in regulatory hearings. Government officials said the new rules would also limit who could participate as intervenors in the review process.

[...]In Toronto, Oliver said the current process is unworkable, with over 40 federal departments involved in reviews. He said he would pare that back to only three federal agencies: the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency; the National Energy Board; and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

The Canadian process, as it stands, forces investors to go “through hoops and hurdles as far as the eye can see,” Oliver said. “We simply have to turn that around.”

Canadians don’t want to scare businesses away from Canada – they want the jobs to come to Canada. That’s the exact opposite of what Obama’s socialist “Environmental Protection Agency” does – they regulate energy development, in order to block it or slow it down.

And Canada lowered corporate taxes to 15% compared to our 35% – and their revenues held steady.

Canada: Corporate tax cuts, not stimulus spending

Canada: Corporate tax cuts, not stimulus spending

They cut their corporate tax rate, but then businesses saw the lower rate and just kept on expanding in order to make more money. As businesses grow, they pay more in taxes. So government revenues from taxes haven’t dropped at all, even with the lower corporate tax rates! More businesses moved in to Canada to capitalize on the lower tax rates, generating revenue for the government. More workers moved off of unemployment and welfare as demand for labor grew, and they started paying income taxes and sales taxes, generating even more revenue for the government. Do you know what makes consumers more confident, so that they spend more? Having a job.  Not being dependent on government.

Look at their unemployment rate:

Canada and US unemployment rates

Canada and US unemployment rates

When we embraced “stimulus” spending, they went for the corporate tax cuts. Our unemployment rate used to be LOWER than theirs, before Pelosi and Reid took over Congress in January 2007. Now we are HIGHER than they are. That’s not rhetoric – that’s data. Even though Canada’s economy is linked to ours, and has suffered as a result of that, they have been signing free trade deals left, right and center. They did this in order to decouple themselves from our collapsing economy, massive debt and devalued currency. Barack Obama, of course, opposes free trade. He has to – he’s in the back pocket of the socialist labor unions.

Free trade empire: (click for larger image)

Canada: Free Trade Empire

Canada: Free Trade Empire

What a contrast Canada’s energy policy makes with Obama’s politicized “Cash for Cronies” energy policy. But then again, Canada hired a conservative right-wing capitalist economist to run their country. We could have just done the same and put in economists like Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams to run our economy, but we put in an unqualified community organizer instead.

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Is Obama telling the truth about U.S. oil reserves?

The Department of Energy's own figures

The Department of Energy’s own figures

Investors Business Daily explains. (H/T Master Resource)

Excerpt:

When he was running for the Oval Office four years ago amid $4-a-gallon gasoline prices, then-Sen. Barack Obama dismissed the idea of expanded oil production as a way to relieve the pain at the pump.

“Even if you opened up every square inch of our land and our coasts to drilling,” he said. “America still has only 3% of the world’s oil reserves.” Which meant, he said, that the U.S. couldn’t affect global oil prices.

It’s the same rhetoric President Obama is using now, as gas prices hit $4 again, except now he puts the figure at 2%.

“With only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” he said. “Not when we consume 20% of the world’s oil.”

The claim makes it appear as though the U.S. is an oil-barren nation, perpetually dependent on foreign oil and high prices unless we can cut our own use and develop alternative energy sources like algae.

But the figure Obama uses — proved oil reserves — vastly undercounts how much oil the U.S. actually contains. In fact, far from being oil-poor, the country is awash in vast quantities — enough to meet all the country’s oil needs for hundreds of years.

The U.S. has 22.3 billion barrels of proved reserves, a little less than 2% of the entire world’s proved reserves, according to the Energy Information Administration. But as the EIA explains, proved reserves “are a small subset of recoverable resources,” because they only count oil that companies are currently drilling for in existing fields.

When you look at the whole picture, it turns out that there are vast supplies of oil in the U.S., according to various government reports. Among them:

At least 86 billion barrels of oil in the Outer Continental Shelf yet to be discovered, according to the government’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

About 24 billion barrels in shale deposits in the lower 48 states, according to EIA.

Up to 2 billion barrels of oil in shale deposits in Alaska’s North Slope, says the U.S. Geological Survey.

Up to 12 billion barrels in ANWR, according to the USGS.

As much as 19 billion barrels in the Utah tar sands, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

Then, there’s the massive Green River Formation in Wyoming, which according to the USGS contains a stunning 1.4 trillion barrels of oil shale — a type of oil released from sedimentary rock after it’s heated.

[...]All told, the U.S. has access to 400 billion barrels of crude that could be recovered using existing drilling technologies, according to a 2006 Energy Department report.

When you include oil shale, the U.S. has 1.4 trillion barrels of technically recoverable oil, according to the Institute for Energy Research, enough to meet all U.S. oil needs for about the next 200 years, without any imports.

Please share this article, because it is unlikely that Obama’s Solyndra-supporting buddies in the mainstream media will report the facts on domestic energy production.

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Production of oil, gas and coal on federal lands sinks to 9-year low

Obama claims that production of oil, gas and coal is up since he took office. It’s true that areas under state control are producing more, but what about energy production on federal lands? That’s the part of the country that Obama is responsible for.

Let’s see what two recent studies from the Energy Information Administration and the Institute for Energy Research found.

Excerpt:

The updated EIA report revealed a 12 percent decline in production for coal, oil, and natural gas on federal and Indian lands from fiscal 2003 through fiscal 2011.

During this same period, production on state and private lands has increased, boosting overall production numbers for the United States. That’s a point even President Obama will acknowledge: “Under my Administration, domestic oil and natural gas production is up,” he said upon announcing his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Obama is correct. He just can’t rightfully claim the credit, since the vast majority of America’s new oil and gas production is happening on private lands in states like North Dakota, Alaska and Texas.

The administration, meanwhile, has also taken several steps to limit production…

  • Withdrew areas offered for 77 oil and gas leases in Utah that could cost American taxpayers millions in lost lease bids, production royalties, new jobs and the energy needed to offset rising imports of oil and natural gas.
  • Cancelled lease sales in the Western Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast and delayed exploration off the coast of Alaska and kept other resource-rich areas off-limits.
  • Finalized rules, first announced by Secretary Salazar on January 6, 2010, to establish more government hurdles to onshore oil and natural gas production on federal lands.
  • Withdrew 61 oil and natural gas leases in Montana as part of a lawsuit settlement over climate change.

“The big picture is clear that government policies undertaken by the Obama administration have produced a significant decline in offshore oil production on federal lands in fiscal year 2011,” the Institute for Energy Research said in response to last week’s updated EIA analysis. “That is certainly not a way to increase domestic production of oil and keep oil and thus gasoline prices in check.”

While it was waiting for EIA to update its numbers, the Institute for Energy Research conducted its own analysis of Department of Interior data in February. It came to the same conclusion: “Production on federal lands is down, while production on state and private lands is up.”

That’s the real story behind Obama’s claims about higher energy production. He’s doing his best to block energy production in the areas under his control. His energy plan is Solyndra, Solyndra, Solyndra – paying off his rich Democrat buddies with taxpayer money.

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How health care mandates drive up health care costs

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

The ObamaCare legislation gives the administration the authority to compile a list of female preventive services that all new health insurance plans will have to cover without employing deductibles or charging co-payments. A medical advisory panel is recommending that birth control services should be one of these services.

The committee from the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine that issued the guidelines also suggests that free breast-pump rentals, counseling for domestic violence, annual wellness exams and HIV tests be part of all health insurance plans.

These mandates won’t come without significant costs. The additional benefits won’t be free, despite the left’s loose usage of that word in association with health care. The mandates will force insurance premiums higher and someone will pay.

The Congressional Budget Office said years ago that existing mandates at the state level — there are more than 2,000 of them, according to the Council for Affordable Health Insurance — raise premiums by 15%.

That’s just a starting point. CAHI, which has done heavy work on this issue, believes that state mandates push premiums up by 20%. In some states, the increase can be as high as 50%. The result is a cost curve that bends upward, not down.

Mandates at the state level run from the expected to the bizarre. They require insurers to provide such unorthodox coverage as wigs (hair prostheses), Oriental medicine, port-wine stain elimination, smoking cessation, acupuncture, midwives, counseling, and marriage, occupational and massage therapists.

As we’ve noted before on these pages, the state mandates are an insult to common sense. Why would a single man need an insurance package that covers in vitro fertilization, maternity leave, midwives, breast reduction or mammograms?

Does it make sense for a childless, unmarried woman to be forced into a plan that includes care for a newborn and screening for prostate cancer? And is there any reason a teetotaler’s policy should cover alcohol abuse?

These regulations are not only asinine, they wreck the health insurance marketplace. The longer the list of mandates, the less competition there is. When insurers have to carry these gold-plated packages, they can’t compete with lower-priced plans that have fewer benefits. This can price some customers entirely out of the private market.

Here’s a post from Ruth Blog that makes the financial aspects clearer, using “free” contraception as an example.

Excerpt:

First of all, preventive medicine implies the prevention of a pathological condition. Pregnancy is anything but pathological. Artificial contraception is an elective medical therapy for those desiring to block a totally normal and healthy physical condition. Not only is contraception elective, but the decision to have sex should be elective as well.

Secondly… If an unmarried woman makes the conscious decision to be sexually active, it seems she should also bear the consequences of such a decision. Her partner should be willing to share any burdens of the relationship, including the financial cost of sexual relations. If a woman is not in a stable relationship, it seems unreasonable to demand someone else has to pay for her sexual dalliances.

[...]Sexual activity is elective. Preventing the normal consequence of sexual activity, pregnancy, is elective. The use of artificial contraception to prevent pregnancy is a personal lifestyle choice, not a medically recommended therapy. Therefore, artificial contraception should not be considered mandated preventive medical care. In these tight fiscal times, we cannot afford to be too inclusive with what constitutes preventive medicine.

Note that the artificial conception would be free for women who want to have children without fathers. And we know how that works out.

The Heritage Foundation points out that mandates actually reduce the freedom and prosperity of women who don’t use these services.

Excerpt:

Many Americans find the use of birth control morally objectionable, and some women may simply have no need for a health plan that covers these services, based on any number of personal choices and other factors. Those that fall into this category would have no choice but to pay for unnecessary coverage if the recommendations are made law.

[...]If HHS takes an overly prescriptive approach regarding these particular measures, women who would prefer not to pay the higher premiums to carry health benefits they don’t need or to which they object won’t have that option.

In a truly market-based insurance exchange, women would be able to choose a health plan that met their needs and was consistent with their values, and those who wished to forgo certain benefits would have the freedom to do so. If any attempt at health reform is to succeed at reducing costs and tailoring coverage to the specific needs of each individual, it must ensure that consumers are able to choose the plan and benefits that work best for them, rather than submitting to the decisions of a bureaucratic board.

There is no opt out for moral women when these things are mandated as minimum coverages in every policy. There is no escape. My fear is that women would be forced to pay for these services and then feel obligated to use them since that is the only way to get any value for the money that is being forcibly extracted from them.

What health care mandates really achieve is 1) to buy votes from the providers of the mandated services, and 2) to transfer wealth from people who don’t want or need these elective services (e.g. – single chaste Christian men) to people who need it because of their own elective lifestyle choices. And the more I have to pay to subsidize other people’s breast implants, contraceptives, STI  treatments, abortions and in vitro fertilizations, the less I can afford to do the things that I want to do, which isn’t fair. My money is my money, and their money is their money. I should be allowed to keep what I earn and buy only the health care that I need. I have other uses for that money. Let the government do-gooders find some other way to boost their self-esteem instead of playing Robin Hood with health care.

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Democrats kill Michele Bachmann’s attempt to freeze federal salaries

Here’s her own words from her YouTube channel:

After a series of procedures on the Floor of the House, House Democrats voted to table a bill that would eliminate the proposed federal employee pay raise scheduled to go into effect next year and also freeze the pay for Members of Congress. Rather than cut spending as the people have asked, Democrats have passed the buck yet again.

And here’s the video.

I’m guessing that this is the spending cut that was selected by the public as part of the Republicans’ “YouCut” program, which allows ordinary voters to choose which legislation will be brought forward by the Republicans to cut federal spending. I posted a video of Michele earlier this week explaining which cut was selected by voters. I guess she got picked to bring the proposed cut up for a vote. Well, the Democrats blocked her and now federal employees, including members of Congress, are all going to get raises. During a recession headed for a depression.

Here’s the blurb from a second video she posted:

It’s amazing to me that the Democrats here in Washington can say that they are seriously concerned with our skyrocketing debt and out of control spending, yet reject the people’s common-sense proposal to put a freeze on federal salaries, including Members of Congress. The Democrats can’t have it both ways, and it’s just another example of the fiscal recklessness we’ve grown so accustomed to under their leadership.

And here’s the second video:

This made me feel very sad. Why isn’t anyone listening to her? How is anyone supposed to have children when they know that the next generation of kids is going to be saddled with enormous debt from our overspending?

By the way, I note that Club for Growth now has Michele ranked #1 in their legislative power rankings. And I agree, she is the best. Ryan is #3, and Blackburn is #5. In the Senate rankings, Jim Demint is all alone at the top.

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