Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama administration blocks oil production in Ohio: 200,000 jobs lost

Cost of renewable wind and solar energy

Cost of renewable wind and solar energy

The Heritage Foundation explains Obama’s latest effort to appease the environmentalist cult.

Excerpt:

First, it was 20,000 jobs the Obama Administration delayed by punting a decision to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada into the United States. Multiply that number by 10 and you have the amount of jobs the President is putting on hold by delaying a mineral lease sale in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest for oil and gas drilling. This decision kills jobs and denies Americans access to affordable energy.

The Washington Examiner reports that Wayne National Forest already has 1,300 oil and gas wells in operation, but access to Utica’s shale gas reserves would require hydraulic fracturing. The United States Department of Agriculture announced a six-month delay in the leasing of 3,000 acres in the forest to study the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing. This decision not only delays access to the jobs and energy that Americans need now, but it blocks an important revenue source for federal and state governments. The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program estimated that:

Natural gas and crude oil industry could help create and support more than 200,000 Ohio-based jobs from the leasing, royalties, exploration, drilling, production and pipeline construction activities for the Utica shale reserve. The state could experience an overall wage and personal-income boost of $12 billion by 2015 from industry spending.

The study also projects royalty payments to landowners, schools, businesses and communities could increase to as much as $1.6 billion by 2015—a number that exceeds the total amount of royalties distributed by Ohio’s natural gas and crude oil industry in the last decade. Total tax revenue from oil and gas exploration and development in the Utica shale formation from 2011 until 2015, including severance, commercial activity, ad valorem (property), federal, state and local taxes, is projected to be approximately $479 billion. Industry expenditures related to Utica shale development could generate approximately $12.3 billion in gross state product and result in a statewide output or sales of more than $23 billion.

Hydraulic fracturing, known as “fracking,” is a long-proven process by which producers inject a fluid (composed of 99 percent water) and sand into wells to free oil and gas trapped in rock formations. Used in over 1 million wells in the United States over more than six decades, fracking has been successfully used to retrieve over 7 billion barrels of oil and over 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Spencer Hunt of the Columbus Dispatch reports that “Tom Stewart, vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said shale well drilling would be less harmful to the forest than conventional drilling because as many as six shale wells can be drilled on a single pad.”

Fracking is subject to both federal and state regulations, and there have been no instances of contamination to drinking water. Groundwater aquifers sit thousands of feet above where fracking takes place, and studies by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ground Water Protection Council, and other agencies have found no evidence of groundwater contamination. Where there have been unwanted environmental outcomes—such as gas migration—they were the result of poor well construction or problems with the concrete and steel casings around the well bore. Those instances have been rare, and they were not a result of the fracking process itself.

Hydraulic fracturing will be a critical process in developing energy supplies in the future. The National Petroleum Council estimates that fracking will allow 60–80 percent of all domestically drilled wells in the next 10 years to remain viable.

You can study the effects of hydraulic fracturing for six more months, but the facts are going to remain the same. Fracking is a long-proven process that can help access our nation’s abundant oil and gas reserves. Delaying lease sales is delaying the creation of much-needed jobs.

So let me get this straight. If Obama isn’t handing out $535 million of taxpayer dollars to Solyndra and $1.4 billion of taxpayer dollars to BruightSource, then he’s busy blocking oil drilling in the Gulf and blocking oil drilling in Ohio and blocking the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s no wonder we have a 9% unemployment rate – this man doesn’t want to create jobs. He wants to reward the people who got him elected by handing out millions and billions of taxpayer dollars to millionaires and billionaires – in effect, transferring wealth from the middle class to rich Democrat fundraisers. I find it very surprising that labor unions back this man in elections. What sense does that make?

Global warming alarmism is nothing but a religion. Why do we have to have so much religion in politics? I understand if environmentalists want to practice their religion in their own homes and in the churches, but why do we have to give them taxpayer money for their environmentalist devotions? And why to we have to put our economy on hold just so that we are compliant with their religious beliefs? Why did we elect a President for believes in forcing a religious ideology onto the rest of us? Why do we have to have our freedom and prosperity – our right to produce goods and our right to purchase goods – limited by a religious ideology?

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Obama administration gives Democrat-connected BrightSource Energy $1.4 billion loan

Obama Economic Record November 2011

Obama Economic Record November 2011

Big Government explains the latest example of the Obama administration handing out billions of taxpayer dollars to their cronies in the green energy racket.

Excerpt:

President John F. Kennedy’s nephew, Robert Kennedy, Jr., netted a $1.4 billion bailout for his company, BrightSource, through a loan guarantee issued by a former employee-turned Department of Energy official.

[...]The details of how BrightSource managed to land its ten-figure taxpayer bailout have yet to emerge fully. However, one clue might be found in the person of Sanjay Wagle.

Wagle was one of the principals in Kennedy’s firm who raised money for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. When Obama won the White House, Wagle was installed at the Department of Energy (DOE), advising on energy grants.

From an objective vantage point, investing taxpayer monies in BrightSource was a risky proposition at the time. In 2010, BrightSource, whose largest shareholder is Kennedy’s VantagePoint Partners, was up to its eyes in $1.8 billion of debt obligations and had lost $71.6 million on its paltry $13.5 million of revenue.

Even before BrightSource rattled its tin cup in front of Obama’s DOE, the company made it known publicly that its survival hinged on successfully completing the Ivanpah Solar Electrical System, which would become the largest solar plant in the world, on federal lands in California.

In its Securities and Exchange Commission filings, BrightSource further underscored the risky nature of the Ivanpah venture and, more broadly, the company’s viability:

Our future success depends on our ability to construct Ivanpah, our first utility-scale solar thermal power project, in a cost-effective and timely manner… Our ability to complete Ivanpah and the planning, development and construction of all three phases are subject to significant risk and uncertainty.

Ironically, in 2008, Kennedy wrote a CNN article praising Obama as reminiscent of his famous father and uncle.  The article, titled “Obama’s Energy Plan Would Create a Green Gold Rush,” proved prophetic. However, the “green gold rush” came in the form of $1.4 billion of taxpayers’ money flowing into the pet projects of rich venture capital investors like Kennedy, not average citizens.

What’s more, BrightSource touted the Ivanpah project as a green jobs creator.  Yet as its own website reveals, the thermal solar plant will only create 1,400 jobs at its peak construction and 650 jobs annually thereafter. Even using the peak estimate of 1,400 jobs, that works out to a cost to taxpayers of $1 million per job created.

These revelations and more are described in the forthcoming book “Throw Them All Out” by Peter Schweizer. This could be a game-breaker.

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Obama urged Solyndra to delay layoff announcements until after 2010 elections

Obama Economic Record November 2011

Obama Economic Record November 2011

From the left-wing Washington Post. (H/T PJ Media)

Excerpt:

The Obama administration urged officers of the struggling solar company Solyndra to postpone announcing planned layoffs until after the November 2010 midterm elections, newly released e-mails show.

Solyndra, the now-shuttered California company, had been a poster child of President Obama’s initiative to invest in clean energies and received the administration’s first energy loan of $535 million. But a year ago, in October 2010, the solar panel manufacturer was quickly running out of money and had warned the Energy Department it would need emergency cash to avoid having to shut down.

The new e-mails about the layoff announcement were released Tuesday morning as part of a House Energy and Commerce committee memo, provided in advance of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s scheduled testimony before the investigative committee Thursday.

Solyndra’s chief executive warned the Energy Department on Oct. 25, 2010, that he intended to announce worker layoffs Oct. 28. He said he was spurred by numerous calls from reporters and potential investors about rumors the firm was in financial trouble and was planning to lay off workers and close one of its two plants.

But in an Oct. 30, 2010, e-mail, advisers to Solyndra’s primary investor, Argonaut Equity, explain that the Energy Department had strongly urged the company to put off the layoff announcement until Nov. 3. The midterm elections were held Nov. 2, and led to Republicans taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

PJ Media notes:

It’s worth waybacking a bit to see how things were going inside Solyndra. To many on the staff, the place never seemed like it was being run as a serious business. It had spectacular facilities, a lavish conference room, and inventory piled up with no plan to ever sell it. There was no market for its product. One worker says that after the DoE loan came in, the company just went on a “sloppy” spending spree. Around that same time, Solyndra was telling Congress that its financial future was bright, even while in the background it was desperately scrambling for more money to keep going.

And it’s against that backdrop that we find the Obama Dept. of Energy pressuring Solyndra, a company that seems to have gotten its massive federal loan chiefly because billionaire George Kaiser donates massively to Democrats and Obama, to politicize its layoffs. Half a billion taxpayer dollars, up in smoke. But you can rest assured that Kaiser’s personal fortune remains untouched and Obama’s campaign coffers are stuffed to bursting.

The only losers are the taxpayers – the ones Obama claims to be protecting from “millionaires and billionaires”.

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Obama fundraisers got 80% of green energy loans ($16.4 billion)

Obama Economic Record November 2011

Obama Economic Record November 2011

From the Daily Beast, an article that explains how Obama rewarded many of his campaign fundraisers with green energy loans backed by taxpayer dollars.

Excerpt:

It would take an entire book to analyze every single grant and government-backed loan doled out since Barack Obama became president. But an examination of grants and guaranteed loans offered by just one stimulus program run by the Department of Energy, for alternative-energy projects, is stunning. The so-called 1705 Loan Guarantee Program and the 1603 Grant Program channeled billions of dollars to all sorts of energy companies. The grants were earmarked for alternative-fuel and green-power projects, so it would not be a surprise to learn that those industries were led by liberals. Furthermore, these were highly competitive grant and loan programs—not usually a hallmark of cronyism. Often fewer than 10 percent of applicants were deemed worthy.

Nevertheless, a large proportion of the winners were companies with Obama-campaign connections. Indeed, at least 10 members of Obama’s finance committee and more than a dozen of his campaign bundlers were big winners in getting your money. At the same time, several politicians who supported Obama managed to strike gold by launching alternative-energy companies and obtaining grants. How much did they get? According to the Department of Energy’s own numbers … a lot. In the 1705 government-backed-loan program, for example, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted as of Sept. 15 went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers—individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party. The grant and guaranteed-loan recipients were early backers of Obama before he ran for president, people who continued to give to his campaigns and exclusively to the Democratic Party in the years leading up to 2008. Their political largesse is probably the best investment they ever made in alternative energy. It brought them returns many times over.

Think of it as a welfare program paid by the middle class to enrich the secular leftist millionaires and billionaires. Taxing the poor to pay for the rich. That’s what the Democrats mean by stimulus spending. And that’s why we have been running trillion-dollar deficits for 3 years with an unemployment rate of 9% or more. They got elected in order to enrich themselves, because they are motivated by greed.

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