Free Markets, Free People
That is the key. And, given the re-election of Barack Obama, it may not be very likely:
A shale oil boom means the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2020, a radical shift that could profoundly transform not just the world’s energy supplies, but also its geopolitics, the International Energy Agency said Monday.
In its closely watched annual World Energy Outlook, the IEA, which advises industrialized nations on their energy policies, said the global energy map “is being redrawn by the resurgence in oil and gas production in the United States.”
The assessment is in contrast with last year, when it envisioned Russia and Saudi Arabia vying for the top position.
“By around 2020, the United States is projected to become the largest global oil producer” and overtake Saudi Arabia for a time, the agency said. “The result is a continued fall in U.S. oil imports (currently at 20% of its needs) to the extent that North America becomes a net oil exporter around 2030.”
This major shift will be driven by the faster-than-expected development of hydrocarbon resources locked in shale and other tight rock that have just started to be unlocked by a new combination of technologies called hydraulic fracturing.
And there’s the rub. Fracking has been demonized by the enviros and the Democrats. Nevermind the fact that in this nation alone it has been in use for 64 years and over a million wells have been drilled using it. This is not new technology despite the apparent belief by some that it is and that it is dangerous.
Environmental groups and some scientists say there hasn’t been enough research on fracking.
Right. 1948. A million wells. No history there.
EPA is publishing new regulations on fracking which they claim will not impede production. Any bets out there concerning the truth of that assertion?
We talk about “energy independence” often and others rightfully point out that oil is a global market and that it is difficult to become truly independent. Given these new finds, I’m not so sure that argument is still valid. Or at least it isn’t as valid as it was when we believed we only sat on top of 2% of the world’s reserves.
Let’s be clear here , the possibility of increased fossil fuel production, to the point of defacto energy independence flies in the face of everything the left wants to do in the energy sector. Anyone who doesn’t understand that has not been paying attention. We’ve seen it with this administration’s ban on off-shore drilling, putting areas of federal land off-limits and slow-walking the permit process. There is no reason to believe that will change. None.
We have the possibility to strategically help the country, create thousands if not millions of jobs, create revenue for government and begin to help a struggling economy get off it’s knees and at least begin staggering forward in a positive direction. If the past four years is any indication, that’s an opportunity that will likely be passed up or at best, minimized.
Oh, this administration will talk a good game, it always does. And it will claim it is interested in “all of the above” when it comes to energy. But action speaks louder than empty words and the action we’ve seen from Obama, et. al., says exactly the opposite is true.
We’re sitting on potential energy resources that could be a veritable game changer. One problem. With a government in place that loves to pick winners and losers, it looks upon fossil fuel as a loser.
The results, unfortunately, are predictable.
Apparently they fear an Obama loss:
President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has devoted an unprecedented number of bureaucrats to finalizing new anti-coal regulations that are set to be released at the end of November, according to a source inside the EPA.
More than 50 EPA staff are now crashing to finish greenhouse gas emission standards that would essentially ban all construction of new coal-fired power plants. Never before have so many EPA resources been devoted to a single regulation. The independent and non-partisan Manhattan Institute estimates that the EPA’s greenhouse gas coal regulation will cost the U.S. economy $700 billion.
More of that laser like focus on creating or saving jobs, huh?
One more in a veritable litany of reasons to get rid of this guy tomorrow.
Note the capitalized word in the title?
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.
Why? Because Ken Salazar in his infinite wisdom, knows more about all of this that you proles, especially the proles in Alaska. The excuse?
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says his plan “will help the industry bring energy safely to market from this remote location, while also protecting wildlife and subsistence rights of Alaska Natives.” He added that the proposal will expand “safe and responsible oil and gas development, and builds on our efforts to help companies develop the infrastructure that’s needed to bring supplies online.”
Got that? Restricting use of a area designated by Congress for a specific purpose, a purpose backed by the state in which the area is located, will “help industry” and expand “safe and responsible oil development”.
George Orwell, call your publisher. Time to update Newspeak. Up is now down, and restrictions now “help industry” and “expand” development.
Meanwhile in coal country:
Two coal companies in Pennsylvania blamed President Obama and his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the layoffs announced last week.
“[T]he escalating costs and uncertainty generated by recently advanced EPA regulations and interpretations have created a challenging business climate for the entire coal industry,” said PBS Coals Inc. President and CEO D. Lynn Shanks in a statement on Friday, as noted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The company also cited weaker-than-normal demand for coal.
Shanks’ comment on the EPA came as he announced a 28 percent work force reduction. “PBS Coals Inc. and its affiliate company, RoxCoal Inc., laid off about 225 workers as part of an immediate idling of some deep and surface mines in Somerset County,” Post-Gazette added. “The company now employs 795 workers.”
Yes, the Obama promise to essentially put coal out of business is indeed making progress.
So wait, we have the administration restricting the oil industry in Alaska and the EPA causing layoffs in coal country, and my guess is Obama will attempt to brag about how many jobs he’s created tomorrow night. Any takers?
That said, guess who is getting “fast tracked”?
The Interior Department set aside about 285,000 acres for commercial-scale solar in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. The federal government will offer incentives for development, help facilitate access to existing or planned electric infrastructure and ease the permitting process in the 17 zones.
“Energy from sources like wind and solar have doubled since the president took office, and with today’s milestone, we are laying a sustainable foundation to keep expanding our nation’s domestic energy resources,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. …
The development program approved Friday cuts some up-front costs for developers, as the federal government already has performed National Environmental Policy Act assessments for the sites.
The administration fired the most recent volley Wednesday by affirming tariffs on Chinese imports. The Commerce Department determined Chinese solar panels were sold below fair value and that its solar businesses unfairly received direct government support.
Now for the irony:
Yes, you read that correctly — even with all of the many types of subsidies and special government treatment the solar industry receives, they still can’t compete, so the government affords the domestic industry protectionist tariffs… purportedly because China gives its own industry unfair government help.
Anyone who still thinks this isn’t the most political, inept, corrupt, ideologically driven and opaque administration in the history of this country has to have been living under a rock for a few hundred years.
This bunch makes one pine for Jimmy Carter.
While the likes of warmist hacks like Paul Krugman and others try to make something more out of this summer’s heat wave and the drought being suffered in one region of the country (btw, here in GA, I’ve not seen it this lush and green in July in probably 10 years or more) into a “global warming” story, history simply doesn’t support their claims.
Worst heat wave ever?
Probably not (Via Pirate’s Cove):
Apparently, according to the EPA (yes, that’s right, the EPA), our worst heat waves came in the ‘30s. You know, the “dustbowl” ‘30s?
Oh. The ‘30s? “Dustbowl”? But, CO2!
Context and history continue to plague the warmists attempts to characterize what seems to be regional weather patterns (like the UK having one of the coolest and wettest summers in memory) into some sort of building global catastrophe.
I guess they’ve never read the story about the little boy who cried wolf too many times.
Why I’d be shocked, shocked I tell you if that was the case.
The Green Machine is now exposing how the US Government can choose to create data that disobey the laws of thermodynamics so that the worthless government policy of favoring plug in vehicles over gas or diesel powered vehicles can be supported by the public. Yes the US EPA chooses to make 34.4% equal to 100%.
Hmmm … I’m hooked, let’s see why:
The EPA allows plug in vehicle makers to claim an equivalent miles per gallon (MPG) based on the electricity powering the cars motors being 100% efficient. This implies the electric power is generated at the power station with 100% efficiency, is transmitted and distributed through thousands of miles of lines without any loss, is converted from AC to DC without any loss, and the charge discharge efficiency of the batteries on the vehicle is also 100%. Of course the second law of thermodynamics tells us all of these claims are poppycock and that losses of real energy will occur in each step of the supply chain of getting power to the wheels of a vehicle powered with an electric motor.
So the 118 mpg equivalent that the EPA allows the Honda Fit is nonsense? Tell me it ain’t so!
Well it is simple the US EPA uses a conversion factor of 33.7 kilowatt hours per gallon of gasoline to calculate the equivalent MPG of an electric vehicle.
Dr. Chu Chu of the Department of Entropy is instructing the EPA on thermodynamics in coming up with the 33.7 kwh per gallon. On a heating value of the fuel 33.7 kwh equals 114,984 BTUS which is indeed the lower heating value of gasoline. The fit needs 286 watt hours to travel a mile and the Green Machine agrees with this for the 2 cycle US EPA test with no heating, cooling or fast acceleration. Using this amount of energy per mile and the 33.7 kwh “contained” in a gallon of gas, the EPA calculates the Fit gets 118 MPG equivalent.
All of these calculations are in fact flawed as the generation of electricity, the transmission and distribution of electricity, the conversion of the AC electricity into DC electricity, and the charging and discharging of the vehicle batteries all have energy losses associated with these activities. The average efficiency of power generation is perhaps 42.5%, the transmission and distribution efficiency is perhaps 90%, the AC to DC conversion and the battery charge discharge efficiency is about 90%. Multiplying all these efficiencies one can calculate that the overall efficiency is 34.4% to get electric power from fuels at the power station into stored electrons within the plug in vehicle’s batteries.
On this basis the 118 MPG equivalent is 40.6 MPG actual for the Honda Fit which is not much of an improvement to the gasoline version of this vehicle that has an EPA rating of 35 MPG combined for city and highway driving.
Uh, that’s quite a little downgrade in performance, isn’t it? Nothing like being 190% off, EPA.
However, I am glad to see the administration has finally taken the politics out of science and has “real” science again serving the public’s best interest.
Because, as you know, the laws of supply and demand can’t be repealed, no matter how much some want that to be true.
Today, the EPA will act to make electricity more expensive.
The Environmental Protection Agency will issue the first limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants as early as Tuesday, according to several people briefed on the proposal. The move could end the construction of conventional coal-fired facilities in the United States.
The proposed rule — years in the making and approved by the White House after months of review — will require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 pounds of CO2 per megawatt, meets that standard; coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.
If you can’t get Congress to pass a “cap and tax” law, then simply go it alone and direct executive agencies to implement regulation which will cap CO2 by making it too expensive to operate if the plant produces CO2 above the arbitrary limit you set.
“After Congress refused to pass carbon caps, the administration insisted there were other ways to skin the cat, and this is another way — by setting a standard deliberately calculated to drive affordable coal out of the electricity market,” Popovich said.
And that’s precisely what Obama’s done here.
Well it gives lie to the “all-of-the-above energy plan” that Obama has been pushing in stump speeches around the country:
Industry officials and environmentalists said in interviews that the rule, which comes on the heels of tough new requirements that the Obama administration imposed on mercury emissions and cross-state pollution from utilities within the past year, dooms any proposal to build a coal-fired plant that does not have costly carbon controls.
“This standard effectively bans new coal plants,” said Joseph Stanko, who heads government relations at the law firm Hunton and Williams and represents several utility companies. “So I don’t see how that is an ‘all of the above’ energy policy.”
Nor do I.
And it will have a significant effect:
The proposal does not cover existing plants, although utility companies have announced that they plan to shut down more than 300 boilers, representing more than 42 gigawatts of electricity generation — nearly 13 percent of the nation’s coal-fired electricity — rather than upgrade them with pollution-control technology.
Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said the new rule “captures the end of an era” during which coal provided most of the nation’s electricity. It currently generates about 40 percent of U.S. electricity.
So the war on coal continues apace despite claims of an inclusive energy policy.
This is a preview of a 2nd Obama term. As mentioned yesterday, public opinion will be of no consequence in January 2013 if he’s re-elected. Hence, there’ll be no need to concern himself with it again. 4 years of unilateral action by agencies such as the EPA can certainly be expected:
The EPA rule, called the New Source Performance Standard, will be subject to public comment for at least a month before being finalized, but its backers said they were confident that the White House will usher it into law before Obama’s term ends.
“The Obama administration is committed to moving forward with this,” said Nathan Willcox, federal global warming program director for the advocacy group Environment America. “They’re committed to doing it this, and we’re committed to helping them do it.”
Right now there’s a shortage of orange juice in the US because of a number of diseases, especially one called “greening” that has been destroying the crop.
However, there’s an alternative – import Brazilian orange juice.
But we can’t:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after several weeks of deliberation, has blocked imports of frozen, concentrated orange juice from Brazil, probably for the next 18 months or so, even though the agency says the juice is perfectly safe.
So if it is admittedly safe and we need the juice to help meet demand (and keep the price down) why can’t we import this juice? Why can’t we do what is necessary with something the FDA says is safe?
The FDA’s explanation is that its hands are legally tied. Its tests show that practically all concentrated juice from Brazil currently contains traces of the fungicide carbendazim, first detected in December by Coca-Cola, maker of Minute Maid juices. The amounts are small — so small that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says no consumers should be concerned.
The problem is, carbendazim has not been used on oranges in the U.S. in recent years, and the legal permission to use it on that crop has lapsed. As a result, there’s not a legal "tolerance" for residues of this pesticide in orange products.
So, according to the FDA, any speck of this fungicide, if found in orange juice, is an illegal adulterant and won’t be allowed, even though residues of the same fungicide are allowed in many other foods, including apple and grape juice.
There is no “legal permission” to use the fungicide on the crop because such “permission” has lapsed and thus there is no “legal tolerance” for any residue no matter how benign. Consequently, because of that lapse the regulatory regime says “no go” on the import of something perfectly safe and in demand.
The result of the unwarranted ban (this orange juice is welcome in Europe, by the way):
In 2010, about 11 percent of all the orange juice consumed in America came from Brazil, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That share may seem modest, but economist Thomas Prusa of Rutgers tells The Salt that cutting it out could boost wholesale prices of concentrated orange juice by 20 to 45 percent.
So gas prices aren’t the only thing going up soon. And in the case of orange juice, the price increase can be tied directly to government regulation.
As orange juice goes up by 20 to 45%, who is it that will be hurt the most? That’s right – the poorest among us who now either have to find a substitute or perhaps forgo the juice altogether.
Funny how some projects attract the EPA like flies to, well, you know and others? Meh. The LA Times reports:
Construction cranes rise like storks 40 stories above the Mojave Desert. In their midst, the "power tower" emerges, wrapped in scaffolding and looking like a multistage rocket.
Clustered nearby are hangar-sized assembly buildings, looming berms of sand and a chain mail of fencing that will enclose more than 3,500 acres of public land. Moorings for 173,500 mirrors — each the size of a garage door — are spiked into the desert floor. Before the end of the year, they will become six square miles of gleaming reflectors, sweeping from Interstate 15 to the Clark Mountains along California’s eastern border.
BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah solar power project will soon be a humming city with 24-hour lighting, a wastewater processing facility and a gas-fired power plant. To make room, BrightSource has mowed down a swath of desert plants, displaced dozens of animal species and relocated scores of imperiled desert tortoises, a move that some experts say could kill up to a third of them.
Despite its behemoth footprint, the Ivanpah project has slipped easily into place, unencumbered by lasting legal opposition or public outcry from California’s boisterous environmental community.
Interesting. No EPA interference. The Enviro crowd rolls over. The project has all of the things which in normal circumstances (i.e. if it was a petro-chemical project) would have it tied up for years both in red tape and court cases.
But for this?
Endangered species? Fuggitaboutit. This is important ideological agenda stuff for the “enviro” crowd.
Away from public scrutiny, they crafted a united front in favor of utility-scale solar development, often making difficult compromises.
Compromises? It is full-scale capitulation. It is abject hypocrisy. It is an example of why the environmental community is seen by many as more ideologically driven than environmentally driven. It explains why their motives are suspect.
Take a look at this page in which you’ll see a conception of the finished project, the impact it has on the desert and the number of projects being developed in California and then just ask yourself what that same environmental community would be doing if the name of the developer was Exxon-Mobil instead of BrightSource.
"The scale of impacts that we are facing, collectively across the desert, is phenomenal," said Dennis Schramm, former superintendent at neighboring Mojave National Preserve. "The reality of the Ivanpah project is that what it will look like on the ground is worse than any of the analyses predicted."
In the fight against climate change, the Mojave Desert is about to take one for the team.
Yet barely a whimper raised by environmentalists over the scale and impact of these projects on what they claim to hold most sacred.
The CAFE rule is the fleet-wide average fuel economy rating manufacturers are required by Washington to achieve. The new rule — issued in response to a 2010 Obama directive, not to specific legislation passed by Congress — would require automakers to achieve a 40.9 mpg CAFE average by 2021 and 54.5 mpg by 2025.
Got that folks … your representatives had nothing to say about or do with this. It was dictated from on high.
In case you’re wondering whatever happened to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it has been supplanted in the CAFE process by the EPA. The proposed regulation was designed, according to the EPA, "to preserve consumer choice — that is, the proposed standards should not affect consumers’ opportunity to purchase the size of vehicle with the performance, utility and safety features that meets their needs." But the reality is that consumer choice will be the first victim.
And that essentially means that with the switch from the NHTSA to EPA, the auto industry most likely had no place at the table. An agency with an agenda but little experience with the industry came up with the new rules.
Also note the usual pandering to choice. They talk the talk, but reality shows they’re not at all sincere about it:
Getting from the current 35 mpg CAFE standard to 54.5 can be achieved by such expedients as making air conditioning systems work more efficiently. We have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell to anybody who thinks that’s even remotely realistic. There is one primary method of increasing fuel economy — weight reduction. That in turn means automakers will have to use much more exotic materials, including especially the petroleum-processing byproduct known as "plastic." But using more plastic will make it much more difficult to satisfy current federal safety standards. The bottom-line will be much more expensive vehicles and dramatically fewer kinds of vehicles.
They’ll have to be much smaller and much lighter and they’ll cost an average of $3,200 dollars more (and that’s the lowball estimate). Yup, no intrusion into the market there. They’ve given “choice” lip service – get over it.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that there will be no vehicles costing $15,000 or less, the segment of the market that college students and low-income consumers depend upon. Altogether, an estimated seven million buyers will be forced out of the market for new cars.
Note, it’s the new car market at risk.
Total costs, as calculated by the EPA, will exceed $157 billion, making this by far the most expensive CAFE rule ever. For comparison, the previous rule in 2010 cost $51 billion, according to the EPA. But the EPA doesn’t include this fact in its calculation: Annual U.S. car sales are 14-16 million units, yet over time, this rule will remove the equivalent of half a year’s worth of buyers.
But remember, to the sycophants, this is the crew that “saved” the auto industry. Now you can understand that it was only for political reasons that was attempted. Those jobs and industries, after this election year, are no longer critical. In fact, they actually hamper the goal to “revolutionize” the energy sector. That’s much more important than the middle class the left is currently and conveniently so fond of.
Put this one under “the law of intended consequences”.