Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama administration blocks energy development on 1.6 million acres of federal land

From The Hill. (H/T Doug Ross @ Journal)

Excerpt:

The Interior Department on Friday issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West originally slated for oil shale development.

The proposed plan would fence off a majority of the initial blueprint laid out in the final days of the George W. Bush administration. It faces a 30-day protest period and a 60-day process to ensure it is consistent with local and state policies. After that, the department would render a decision for implementation.

The move is sure to rankle Republicans, who say President Obama’s grip on fossil fuel drilling in federal lands is too tight.

Interior’s Bureau of Land Management cited environmental concerns for the proposed changes. Among other things, it excised lands with “wilderness characteristics” and areas that conflicted with sage grouse habitats.

Remember when Obama that Obama’s goal is not to lower energy prices – it’s to raise the price of energy in order to save the planet from global warming:

Investors Business Daily will help you remember Obama’s record of blocking domestic energy development.

Excerpt:

Shell has fought the administration to begin drilling in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska.

The federal government estimates there are 26.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 130 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Arctic Ocean’s Outer Continental Shelf but repeated safety reviews and designation of much of the region as critical polar bear habitat has slowed development to a crawl.

Only 2.2% of federal offshore land is currently being leased for production.

Then there are the 10 billion barrels locked up in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, which would require drilling in just 2,000 acres out of 19 million.

The Obama administration recently rescinded 77 oil and gas leases in Utah and stalled oil shale research and development in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, where the federal government owns most of the world’s oil shale reserves.

Out West, we may have a “Persia on the Plains.” A Rand Corp. study says the Green River Formation, which covers parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, has the largest known oil shale deposits in the world, holding from 1.5 trillion to 1.8 trillion barrels of crude — most of it locked up by federal edict.

Under President Obama, the American Petroleum Institute notes, leases on federal lands in the West are down 44%, while permits and new well drilling are both down 39% compared to 2007 levels.

After the BP oil spill, President Obama shut down most Gulf of Mexico drilling and there’s been a 57% drop in monthly deepwater permits since 2008, according to the Greater New Orleans Gulf Permit Index.

Who needs jobs? We have to “save the planet” from the global warming monster – and raise the price of electricity! Only “the rich” put gas in the their cars and use electricity, right? So only the rich will be affected when electricity prices skyrocket. That’s Obama’s goal. That’s what his supporters elected him to do in the last election.

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New study: there has been no global warming since 1997

Newest climate data: no change in temperatures since 1997

Newest climate data: no change in temperatures since 1997

Reported in the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week.

The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.

This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years.

The new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land and sea, was issued  quietly on the internet, without any media fanfare, and, until today, it has not been reported.

This stands in sharp contrast  to the release of the previous  figures six months ago, which went only to the end of 2010 – a very warm year.

Ending the data then means it is possible to show a slight warming trend since 1997, but 2011 and the first eight months of 2012 were much cooler, and thus this trend is erased.

[...]The regular data collected on global temperature is called Hadcrut 4, as it is jointly issued by the Met Office’s Hadley Centre and Prof Jones’s Climatic Research Unit.

How much has all the hype about global warming cost the British taxpayer?

Your bills are going up, at least in part, because of the array of ‘green’ subsidies being provided to the renewable energy industry, chiefly wind.

They will cost the average household about £100 this year. This is set to rise steadily higher – yet it  is being imposed for only one  reason: the widespread conviction, which is shared by politicians of all stripes and drilled into children at primary schools, that, without drastic action to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, global warming is certain soon to accelerate, with truly catastrophic consequences by the end of the century – when temperatures could be up to five degrees higher.

Hence the significance of those first two answers. Global industrialisation over the past 130 years has made relatively little difference.

And with the country committed by Act of Parliament to reducing CO2 by 80 per cent by 2050, a project that will cost hundreds of billions, the news that the world has got no warmer for the past 16 years comes as something of a shock.

Across the pond in the United States, we are not only paying more for electricity because of energy taxes and energy regulations, but we are also losing blue collar jobs, as the Daily Caller explains:

Coal company Alpha Natural Resources announced Tuesday it would be laying off 1,200 workers and closing eight coal mines to face two new challenges: cheap natural gas and “a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal.”

The Associated Press reports that the company is cutting production by 16 million tons and 1,200 jobs nationwide, with 400 layoffs occurring immediately by closing coal mines in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Four mines will be closed in West Virginia, another three will be closed in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania. All the mines are non-union operations, according to the AP.

Not only that, but the Wall Street Journal just reported that Obama banned oil drilling on 11.5 million acres of federal land:

President Obama is campaigning as a champion of the oil and gas boom he’s had nothing to do with, and even as his regulators try to stifle it. The latest example is the Interior Department’s little-noticed August decision to close off from drilling nearly half of the 23.5 million acre National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

The area is called the National Petroleum Reserve because in 1976 Congress designated it as a strategic oil and natural gas stockpile to meet the “energy needs of the nation.” Alaska favors exploration in nearly the entire reserve. The feds had been reviewing four potential development plans, and the state of Alaska had strongly objected to the most restrictive of the four. Sure enough, that was the plan Interior chose.

That kind of thing, along with blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, explains why gas prices are so high, and why we have no energy jobs being created. They are being created in Brazil, China and elsewhere, but not here. Why would anyone create jobs here when corporate taxes and regulations eat up profits? If the USA is worried so much about global warming, then they don’t want jobs and they don’t want lower electricity prices. You can’t have everything at once.

This is all according to plan, as Obama explained:

Higher energy prices and bankrupting coal plants is how Obama planned to deal with “global warming”. That was one of his top priorities as President. Only there was no global warming. That was just an excuse by left-wing academic charlatans to get more grant money for their universities by extracting it from the private sector businesses and workers. The government went along with it because they wanted control of business, and a legitimate looking way of paying off their campaign fundraisers, as with Solyndra. That’s all global warming was. It was a hoax designed to achieve a more socialist economy why rewarding Democrat donors.

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Green firm that got $1.46 billion in bailouts announces 2000 layoffs

Doug Ross linked to this Washington Examiner article about First Solar.

Excerpt:

First Solar, a solar energy company that received a $1.46 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, announced today that it will layoff 2,000 workers in the United States and world-wide.

The company will  “indefinitely idle” four production lines in Malaysia and shutter a plant in Germany. “These actions, combined with other personnel reductions in Europe and the U.S., will reduce First Solar’s global workforce by approximately 2,000 positions, about 30 percent of the total,” First Solar announced today.

“After a thorough analysis, it is clear the European market has deteriorated to the extent that our operations there are no longer economically sustainable, and maintaining those operations is not in the best long-term interest of our stakeholders,” said Mike Ahearn, Chairman and Interim CEO of First Solar, in a statement.

In December, First Solar laid off 100 employees at a Santa Clara , Calif., plant. The DOE has committed $1.46 billion to a project in Riverside County, California expected to create 15 permanent jobs and 550 construction jobs.

The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney reported last month that the Export-Import Bank also subsidizes First Solar, helping the company “to sell solar panels to itself” by having a Canadian solar company “wholly owned” by First Solar by its parent company’s products.

Selling solar panels to a wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary??? YES.

Excerpt:

A heavily subsidized solar company received a U.S. taxpayer loan guarantee to sell solar panels to itself.

[...]First Solar is an Arizona-based manufacturer of solar panels. In 2010, the Obama administration awarded the company $16.3 million to expand its factory in Ohio — a subsidy Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland touted in his failed re-election bid that year.

Five weeks before the 2010 election, Strickland announced more than a million dollars in job training grants to First Solar. The Ohio Department of Development also lent First Solar $5 million, and the state’s Air Quality Development Authority gave the company an additional $10 million loan.

After First Solar pocketed this $17.3 million in government grants and $15 million in government loans, Ex-Im entered the scene.

In September 2011, Ex-Im approved $455.7 million in loan guarantees to subsidize the sale of solar panels to two wind farms in Canada. That means if the wind farm ever defaults, the taxpayers pick up the tab, ensuring First Solar gets paid.

But the buyer, in this case, was First Solar.

A small corporation called St. Clair Solar owned the wind farm and was the Canadian company buying First Solar’s panels. But St. Clair Solar was a wholly owned subsidiary of First Solar. So, basically, First Solar was shipping its own solar panels from Ohio to a solar farm it owned in Canada, and the U.S. taxpayers were subsidizing this “export.”

How did this company get such a huge taxpayer-funded bailout from the Obama administration?

Because, like Solyndra and SolarReserve, etc., First Solar is linked to Democrats.

Excerpt:

First Solar founder and Chairman Michael Ahearn, whom Reuters reported cashed in $68.9 million of his company’s stock last month, has donated $123,650, along with his wife, to the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates during the three most recent cycles, mostly in Arizona.

The solar energy giant, the nation’s biggest, also spent more than $1.5 million lobbying Congress and the Obama administration since 2009 on the stimulus and subsequent green-jobs plans. This included approximately $400,000 paid to the Washington Tax Group, which also represented Solyndra.

If you click through on that article, you can read about how SolarReserve is linked to former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law, Ronald Pelosi and to Tony Podesta,  the brother of John Podesta — who ran Barack Obama’s presidential transition team. This is the energy policy of the Obama administration: stop drilling, stop coal, stop nuclear, stop pipelines, and give taxpayer money to people who can get you elected. All the Democrats do is provide bailouts for Democrat-connected businesses and subsidize exploding Chevy Volts built by overpaid unionized auto workers. That’s it. That’s their plan.

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Another looming debt crisis: law school students racking up $100,000+ in debt

Consider this scary article from the Competitive Enterprise Institute. (H/T Hans)

Excerpt: (links removed)

Federal financial aid policies haveencouraged law students to borrow increasing amounts to attend law school, despite the glut of lawyers (oddly, government policies encourage more people to go to law school, driving up law schooltuition, even as the Obama administration seeks to cut back on vocational education aimed at training the skilled blue-collar workers who are in desperately short supply in much of the country). The result, says law professor Brian Tamanaha, is a “Quickly Exploding Law Graduate Debt Disaster” in which most recent graduates of many law schools will never be able to pay off their staggering student loan debt. At the liberal Balkinization blog, Tamanaha notes that the average student has over $100,000 in debt just from law school at many schools…

[...]As one commenter noted earlier, federal financial aid and student loans have driven up law school tuition and student loan debt: “education loans . . . often have implicit government guarantees,” even those not explicitly backed by the government. As a result, “like the GSE’s, the supply of credit for education loans has continued to expand. So in a way colleges and universities, public and private have been in a bubble akin to the housing bubble. The benefits to the institutions are irresistible and so there is no way they will try to reign in costs and thus tuition. Not as long as students are willing and able to borrow.” When the bubble pops, taxpayers will be on the hook for countless billions of dollars (many graduates already are not repaying their student loans). “Why is college so expensive? A new study points to a disconcerting culprit: financial aid,” notes Paul Kix on page K1 of the March 25 Boston Globe. I and professors and education experts commented earlier on that study at Minding the Campus. Other studies also have concluded that increased federal financial aid, such as student loans, drives up college tuition, and you can find links to some of them here.

[...]When law school graduates are unable to pay off their student loans, lenders will come after their elderly parents who co-signed for the loans.  As the Washington Post notes, “Americans 60 and older still owe about $36 billion in student loans . . . Many have co-signed for loans with their children or grandchildren to help them afford ballooning tuition.”

According to the liberal New York Times, law schools do a woeful job of preparing students to practice law.

Excerpt:

The lesson today — the ins and outs of closing a deal — seems lifted from Corporate Lawyering 101.

“How do you get a merger done?” asks Scott B. Connolly, an attorney.

There is silence from three well-dressed people in their early 20s, sitting at a conference table in a downtown building here last month.

“What steps would you need to take to accomplish a merger?” Mr. Connolly prods.

After a pause, a participant gives it a shot: “You buy all the stock of one company. Is that what you need?”

“That’s a stock acquisition,” Mr. Connolly says. “The question is, when you close a merger, how does that deal get done?”

The answer — draft a certificate of merger and file it with the secretary of state — is part of a crash course in legal training. But the three people taking notes are not students. They are associates at a law firm called Drinker Biddle & Reath, hired to handle corporate transactions. And they have each spent three years and as much as $150,000 for a legal degree.

What they did not get, for all that time and money, was much practical training. Law schools have long emphasized the theoretical over the useful, with classes that are often overstuffed with antiquated distinctions, like the variety of property law in post-feudal England. Professors are rewarded for chin-stroking scholarship, like law review articles with titles like “A Future Foretold: Neo-Aristotelian Praise of Postmodern Legal Theory.”

So, for decades, clients have essentially underwritten the training of new lawyers, paying as much as $300 an hour for the time of associates learning on the job. But the downturn in the economy, and long-running efforts to rethink legal fees, have prompted more and more of those clients to send a simple message to law firms: Teach new hires on your own dime.

“The fundamental issue is that law schools are producing people who are not capable of being counselors,” says Jeffrey W. Carr, the general counsel of FMC Technologies, a Houston company that makes oil drilling equipment. “They are lawyers in the sense that they have law degrees, but they aren’t ready to be a provider of services.”

[...]Consider, for instance, Contracts, a first-year staple. It is one of many that originated in the Langdell era and endures today. In it, students will typically encounter such classics as Hadley v. Baxendale, an 1854 dispute about financial damages caused by the late delivery of a crankshaft to a British miller.

Here is what students will rarely encounter in Contracts: actual contracts, the sort that lawyers need to draft and file. Likewise, Criminal Procedure class is normally filled with case studies about common law crimes — like murder and theft — but hardly mentions plea bargaining, even though a vast majority of criminal cases are resolved by that method.

[...]“We should be teaching what is really going on in the legal system,” says Edward L. Rubin, a professor and former dean at the Vanderbilt Law School, “not what was going on in the 1870s, when much of the legal curriculum was put in place.”

Not only that, but the marketplace is saturated with lawyers already. When supply increases and demand decreases, prices fall. The new batch of lawyers are not going to be able to command the same salaries as the old batch.

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Did Obama cause gas prices to go up?

From House Speaker John Boehner, a timeline of events leading up to higher gas prices.

Excerpt:

[T]he Obama administration simply hasn’t focused on reducing our dependence on foreign energy. In fact, energy production on federal lands has dropped by 11 percent.

While these represent only a fraction of the Obama administration’s efforts to stifle new energy production, here’s a look at some of the key data points from above:

  • FEBRUARY 4, 2009 – Just months after President Obama’s Energy Secretary said, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” the Obama administration begins “scrapping leases for oil-shale development” and cancels 77 leases for oil and gas production in Utah. Gas is $1.91 a gallon.
  • MARCH 7, 2009ABC News says the White House is closely monitoring the expedited Solyndra loan project even as it was delaying new American energy production that would help make us less dependent on foreign energy. Gas is $1.94 a gallon.
  • JUNE 27, 2009 – President Obama urges the Senate to adopt House Democrats’ “cap and trade” national energy tax, the same one the president once admitted would cause electricity rates to “necessarily skyrocket.” Then-GOP Leader Boehner later said the bill “would raise electricity prices, increase gasoline prices, and ship American jobs to countries like China and India.” Gas is $2.50 a gallon.
  • JANUARY 7, 2010 – The Obama administration announces new bureaucratic hurdles to American energy production that Secretary Salazar admitted “could add delays to the leasing and drilling process.” Gas is $2.67 a gallon.
  • MARCH 31, 2010 – Instead of opening new areas to energy exploration and development, President Obama blocks deep-ocean energy production on 60 percent of America’s Outer Continental Shelf. Gas is $2.80 a gallon.
  • DECEMBER 1, 2010 The president re-imposes and expands the moratorium on offshore energy production. Gas is $2.86 a gallon.
  • JANUARY 2, 2011TIME reported that the Obama administration issued the first in a series of regulations on January 2 designed to unilaterally impose a national energy tax. Gas is $3.05 a gallon.
  • MAY 5, 2011 – The White House issues a formal statement opposing House-passed Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R. 1230) and Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (H.R. 1229), legislation designed to jumpstart American energy production, address rising gas prices, and help create new jobs. Gas is $3.96 a gallon.
  • JUNE 21, 2011 - The White House opposes the House-passed Jobs & Energy Permitting Act that would unlock an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Gas is $3.65 a gallon.
  • NOVEMBER 8, 2011 – The Obama Administration releases a plan for a five-year moratorium on offshore energy production, placing “some of the most promising energy resources in the world off-limits,” according to the House Natural Resources Committee. Gas is $3.42 a gallon.
  • JANUARY 18, 2012 – President Obama rejects the bipartisan Keystone XL pipeline and the more than 20,000 jobs that would come with it. Gas is $3.39 a gallon, and rising faster and earlier than ever before.

In case you missed it, Obama’s energy advisor admitted that he wanted gas prices to go much higher.

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