American Elephants


Shining the Public Spotlight on Sneaky Secrets at the EPA. What Will Be Revealed? by The Elephant's Child

Lisa Jackson

Splendid news from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is administrator Lisa Jackson’s forthcoming departure. It is a major victory for transparency and accountability in Washington.

There have been whispers for years and rumors that EPA officials used private email addresses, fake names and coded messages to avoid the strictures of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Jackson’s use of “Richard Windsor” as her chosen email address has recently become public, and Jackson admitted to using “Richard Windsor”as her nom de plume on a government email account.

The EPA inspector general opened an investigation into the matter because it is against federal law to use nonofficial or secret email addresses to conduct official business.  The use of private or false flag emails enables government officials to hide things that they would prefer we do not know about. And hiding things from FOIA requests is illegal. But the EPA has been hiding things for a very long time.

During the Clinton years, Carol Browner (a former senatorial aide to Vice President Gore) headed the EPA. She ordered the hard drive on her government computer to be reformatted and all backup tapes destroyed, just hours after a federal judge ordered her agency to preserve all agency email records. Only hopelessly naive or blindly partisan folks took seriously Browner’s doe-eyed claim that it was all just a big mistake and she certainly wasn’t trying to cover up anything. Nothing to see here, so move along, folks.

And nothing was done.

Christopher Horner, a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and FOIA expert turned up an internal memo from the EPA’s IT department, which described the process for establishing and using secret email accounts.

That particular revelation engendered real warfare among Jackson’s EPA, a federal court, at least two Congressional committees, Horner and the CEI over thousands of other internal emails and documents that are likely to shed light on the illegalities going on at the environmental agency. The EPA has authored hundreds of regulations that damage business, cost jobs, and involve huge costs to innocent bystanders for highly questionable reasons dependent on unusually questionable evidence.

The conflict is ongoing, and there are sure to be more ugly revelations. Those who defend Jackson will claim that her departure has nothing to do with such matters.  Chris Horner makes an obvious point: “It is not only implausible that Lisa Jackson’s resignation was unrelated to her false identity, which we revealed, given how the obvious outcome and apparent objective of such transparency laws was intolerable. But it became an inevitability when, last week, the Department of Justice agreed (as a result of our lawsuit) to begin producing 12,000 of her “Richard Windsor” alias accounts related to the war on coal Jackson was orchestrating on behalf of President Obama outside of the appropriate democratic process.”

Along with all the other things the Obama administration hid until ‘after the election’ there are dozens of Jackson’s most costly and controversial proposed regulations, which the administration is now releasing. These regulations are especially damaging to the coal industry which supplies the major portion of our electric power.

President Obama has long made clear that he wants to bankrupt the coal industry, which seems to be part of his desire to save the planet from a global warming that is proving to be non-existent. There are lots of legal battles to come.

It has become obvious that many of the numbers put forth by the agency are fraudulent, environmental damage is invented, and harm to humanity is exaggerated hooey. That’s what transparency and accountability are all about.

If you believe that the government’s business should be conducted in public, this is a significant beginning. Nobody in government has ever gone to jail for violating a FOIA request, and Jackson won’t go to jail either. But the agency is now an object of attention by the IG office as well as Congressional committees. That can only help.



Your Power Bill Is Going to Skyrocket! by The Elephant's Child

(Click to enlarge)

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued 946 pages of new rules requiring that U.S. power plants sharply reduce (already low) emissions of mercury and 83 other air pollutants.  EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson claims that, while the regulations will cost electricity producers $10.9 billion annually, they weil save 17,000 lives and generate up to $140 billion in health benefits.

Dr. Willie Soon and Paul Driessen point out that there is no factual basis for these assertions.  “To make this case, the EPA systematically cherry-picked supportive studies (many of them dated) and ignored the extensive evidence and clinical studies that contradict its regulatory agenda, which is to punish hydrocarbon use and close down coal-fired power plants.”

This article is the most devastating takedown of the very arrogant and out-of-control EPA that I have seen. Those of us who cannot readily call scientific facts to mind are left gullible in the extreme. If the EPA claims that their actions are necessary to protect human health and life, we are unable to refute their claims except by our growing suspicions of the reliability of the agency.

I know that Ms. Jackson claimed that these regulations would prevent large numbers of cases of asthma. Yet physicians readily admit that they have no idea of the cause of asthma. They know how to treat the disease, but where it comes from or how it starts is a mystery. So you know she’s lying right off the bat, it’s just a matter of how much.

Mercury, the element at the basis of these regulations, has always existed naturally in the Earth’s environment.  The latest government, university and independent studies show that America’s coal-burning power plants emit an estimated 41 to 48 tons of mercury each year. Wow!  Tons.  But wait — U.S. forest fires emit at least 44 tons a year, cremation of human remains discharges 26 tons per year globally.  Chinese power plants eject 400 tons per year. Volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers and other sources spew out 9,000-10,000 tons per year. All these emissions enter the global atmosphere and become part of the U.S. air mass.

One half of our electricity is produced by coal-fired power plants, and in some states 70-98% of electricity.  All together U.S. power plants account for less than 0.5% of all the mercury in all the air that Americans breathe. Eliminating every molecule of that would still leave 99.5 % of mercury in the atmosphere, harming no one.  But perhaps you missed that number in the first paragraph.

The regulations will cost electricity producers $10.9 billion annually.

And what will that do to your power bill? If these regulations have no effect on health, and they do not, then why?  The Obama administration has made no secret of the fact that they want to penalize hydrocarbon use in order to force Americans to move to the use of unreliable and costly “renewable” energy.

President Obama has said repeatedly that he wants to bankrupt the coal industry, making coal-based electricity prices “skyrocket.” That is why Obama has wasted such huge amounts of taxpayer dollars subsidizing solar plants, battery factories, wind farms, turbine plants, $102,000 luxury hybrid electric cars, and high-speed trains to nowhere. Solar energy is too diffuse.  Wind energy is too intermittent. They will produce a small amount of energy at very high cost. It was all a green pipe-dream.

Do read the whole article. It is an excellent exposé of this out-of-control agency.  If we don’t understand what they are doing, we have no defense against their machinations, and no clear understanding of why this election is so important.

ADDENDUM: Look carefully at that pretty pie chart.  President Obama wants to bankrupt that big blue sector of our electricity producing utilities, so that we are forced to depend on the little purple sector and make it grow. Energy experts doubt the possibility that sector can grow significantly, nor ever produce the dependable, cheap energy we need. Result: blackouts, brownouts and soaring energy costs.



The EPA’s Outrageous Power Grab! Lisa Jackson Must Be Stopped. by The Elephant's Child

The Obama EPA has decreed that “America’s fleet of passenger cars will have to meet an average mileage of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which will double today’s requirement of about 27 mpg.” The EPA’s director Lisa Jackson is way out of line, and assuming powers not granted to her or her agency.

Lisa Jackson has tossed aside some 35 years of Congressional prerogatives.  In 2007, Congress raised the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard with a bill requiring the U.S. fleet to hit 35 mpg by 2020, which was a 40% increase.  The theory is that the EPA has declared carbon dioxide a “pollutant,.” and because cars emit CO2, Ms. Jackson is depending on the Clean Air Act in her bid to issue commands to Detroit.

The issue of CAFE standards was previously the charge of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  NHTSA was charged by Congress with taking into account vehicle safety and a rule’s effect on the economy and consumer demand. The rule would reduce the mass of a car by 15% tp 25%. decreasing safety. Vehicles that cost $15,000 or less would be regulated out of existence.

The only way Detroit can hit these averages will be by turning at least 25% of its fleet into hybrids, which is undoubtedly the intention.  Hybrid sales peaked two years ago at 3% of the market and are declining.

Humans also emit CO2, every time we exhale. With something like 330,000,000 of us breathing out, that must be a fair amount of CO2.  Ms. Jackson has no authority to overrule Congress. The whole thing is silly — since carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant, but a colorless, odorless gas that helps plants to grow and resist drought. The Clean Air Act is designed to curb pollutants, not to make up out of whole cloth claims that benign things are damaging to health, in order to increase the power of the EPA.   Other than that, the Wall Street Journal reports that even the EPA’s low estimates show that the rule would cost $157 billion and raise the price of cars by about $3,100 per vehicle.

This is an outstanding example of the general wrongheadedness of the Obama administration. There is no respect for the Constitutional separation of powers, no respect for the rule of law. The normal legislative process is viewed as an inconvenience that is to be avoided or gotten around, so that the administration can achieve their aims without interference. The arrogance of the administration assumes that the administration knows best, rather than the American people.  Congress needs to respond to this power grab, to restore the rule of law, and put the out-of-control EPA in its place.

The rationale behind this move seems to be a firm belief in a nonexistent global warming, caused by our cars’ emissions of CO2. But  any alarming warming exists only in the computer models of climate, not in the real world. The CO2 in the atmosphere arises from the oceans, and the small amounts of warming precede the rise in CO2 by as much as 300 years.  We have had far greater amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere in the past, and are currently at a low point. We need more CO2, not less, to help feed the hungry people of the world.




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