American Elephants


Never Let a Crisis Go To Waste, Even a Disastrous Oil Spill! by The Elephant's Child

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman blocked President Barack Obama’s moratorium on deepwater drilling.  Judge Feldman cut straight to the heart of the Administration’s flawed reasoning.

The blanket moratorium seems to assume, wrote the judge,” that because one rig failed and although no one yet fully knows why, all companies and rigs drilling new wells over 500 feet also universally present an imminent danger.” The ruling stated:

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is an unprecedented, sad, ugly and inhuman disaster.  What seems clear is that the federal government has been pressed by what happened…into an otherwise sweeping confirmation that all Gulf deepwater drilling activities put us all in a universal threat of irreparable harm.

That is the assumption behind the six-month moratorium ordered by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.  It was challenged in court by three companies that provide support services to offshore drilling. Judge Feldman notes that the government has not justified what he called a “punitive” moratorium. The plaintiffs are likely to succeed in showing that the Administration “acted arbitrarily and capriciously.”

The judge noted that case law says that the court can’t substitute its judgment for that of an agency like the Interior Department, but the agency must articulate a “rational connection between the facts found and the choice made.” He also criticized the report for stating that its recommendations had been peer-reviewed by seven National Academy of Engineering experts. Five of those did not agree with the moratorium and three others who were consulted also did not agree.

Judge Feldman’s ruling validates what Louisianans have been arguing for weeks: that the Administration’s broad drilling ban isn’t justified and stands to cause even greater economic harm to this state than the devastating oil spill itself.

The Obama Administration has said it will appeal Judge Feldman’s decision.  They really want to keep that drilling ban in place.  The ban is political.  The decision suggests the government would need a much better substantive case to prevail.

The Feldman decision also lists the environmental groups that had joined the Administration’s defense against the suit.  One was the Natural Resources Defense Council, whose president, Frances Beinecke, has been appointed by President Obama to his deep water drilling commission.  Ms Beinecke has called for a ban on all offshore and Arctic drilling, as well as banning ethanol.  She is far too politically ideological and biased to serve on such a commission.  She should step down.

It is becoming clear that the Administration wants drilling shut down for political purposes.  They want to keep the pressure on so Congress will pass the cap-and-trade bill that would bankrupt the country.  Obama has his list of things he wants to do, and he doesn’t intend to let ordinary annoyances get in his way.  Shameful.


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So you are aware that Judge Feldman has a large holding of oil stocks, right? Can you say “conflict of interest?”

http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/judge-who-overturned-obamas-drilling-ban-has-substantial-oil-in/19527597/

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Comment by hippieprof

Oh? And how many shares of what oil companies does he hold? At a time when oil company stock is doing reasonably well, is it surprising that anyone would hold an oil stock in their retirement portfolio? Hardly a “conflict of interest.” This silly theme simply doesn’t work any more. Every time a scientist doubts the liberal belief in alarmist global warming, he is said to be in the pay of BIG OIL. Every time someone disagrees that CO2 is dangerous, they must be in the pay of BIG OIL. Do get it through your head that our economy runs on oil, and there is no replacement for it for the foreseeable future, 50 years in all probability. No oil, and you would have an economy that could no longer support the excesses of higher education. No students, no jobs.

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Comment by The Elephant's Child

Do get it through your head that our economy runs on oil, and there is no replacement for it for the foreseeable future, 50 years in all probability.

Seriously? We don’t have 50 years. At present production rates our reserves will last about another 8 years. If you think OPEC is a pain now, guess how it will be when we don’t have any oil of our own.

Yes – alternative energy will be costly in the short term – but we can’t afford to wait or we will have far wose problems in the very near future.

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Comment by hippieprof

The government counts as our “reserves” that which is readily available for drilling; thus the oil off the Pacific Coast, the Atlantic coast, ANWR, offshore Alaska, the shale oil, and whatever else has been put off limits, is not counted in our reserves. When you count up the reserves we actually have, it is a 300 year supply. That’s 3 Centuries! Environmentalists assume that there is some replacement for petroleum. There isn’t. Ethanol is environmentally damaging, contains far less energy than oil — that is, a gallon won’t take you as far, and definitely damages engines at 15%, and may damage them at 10%. There are the same problems with other kinds of ethanol, and they require big subsidies. Algae, so far, requires such huge acreage that it is unfeasible. Electric cars are lots sexier than those available in the early 1900s, but have the same problems. They need some technological breakthrough in the battery department. Again, without big subsidies, no electric cars. The Tesla –the electric car for the obscenely rich — (and the roadster is really sexy) needed big funding just to continue. The Volt supposedly goes 40 miles on a charge (and this may be hype) but it takes 7 hours to charge, there are no charging stations, and unless heavily subsidized costs $40,000.

The idea of “peak oil” has always been a myth. Perhaps someday it will be true, but the idea that we should shut down oil exploration, refuse to build new refineries, fail to build new nuclear plants, and depend on the fantasy of wind and solar and “clean energy,” is proven nonsense. Wind, solar and geothermal do not power our transportation. Beyond that, there is no reason to ban oil. Carbon dioxide is not the cause of global warming. It is a trace gas in the atmosphere, and one of the building blocks of life. No Co2, no life. It is a natural fertilizer in the atmosphere, and we have had far more in the atmosphere in the past. Nurserymen pump many times the CO2 we have in the atmosphere into their greenhouses to help their plants grow. We need more in the atmosphere, not less. Ian Plimer, Australia’s most celebrated geologist, has an excellent chapter on CO2 in his book Heaven and Earth: global warming, the missing science. Most of our oil does not come from OPEC, but beyond our own supplies, from Canada and Mexico.

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Comment by The Elephant's Child

In my earlier response, I said “Do get it through your head” which on re-reading sounds really rude. I didn’t mean it that way. Forgive me!

Robert Bryce, editor of “The Energy Tribune,” has a new book out: Power Hungry which according to the reviews is excellent. His earlier book is Gusher of Lies. I’m recommending them on the basis of reviews I trust, but I have not read either yet.

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Comment by The Elephant's Child

In my earlier response, I said “Do get it through your head” which on re-reading sounds really rude. I didn’t mean it that way. Forgive me!

No problem – no offense taken. I know that it can also seem rude when I drop in on a new blog and drop a quick two line comment. I generally don't say much more at first because often my comments don't survive moderation.

Thank you for the book recommendations. I will check them out.

The idea of “peak oil” has always been a myth. Perhaps someday it will be true, but the idea that we should shut down oil exploration, refuse to build new refineries, fail to build new nuclear plants, and depend on the fantasy of wind and solar and “clean energy,” is proven nonsense.

I never said we should shut down oil exploration, and unlike some of my compatriots I don’t have a problem with SAFE nuclear – though I do want assurances that plant safety is looked after a LOT better than what was going on at BP.

I am curious where you get the 300 year figure. I have never seen any estimates close to that.

Thanks for tolerating my comments. Believe it or not, I do this seeking honest conversation – because I think that is the only way out of the mess we are in.

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Comment by hippieprof

I don’t remember for sure, but for energy questions I rely mostly on two websites: http://www.masterresource.org and http://www.energytribune.com which I read daily. Government statistics are found at http://www.eia.doe.gov, which I visit once in a while and trust less.

I’m afraid that this administration does want to shut down exploration in the interest of promoting their idea of a “clean green economy.”They seem unaware or uninterested in the experience of other countries –or are just convinced that here it will be different. Spain went in whole hog for wind and solar, and are going bankrupt. Gabriel Calzada of Universidad Juan Carlos studied the Spanish situation and discovered that for every “green” job, 2 1/2 jobs were lost in the regular economy because of the higher costs of energy. Denmark with huge wind farms has the highest priced energy in Europe. Wind is measured by promoters by the amount it could potentially generate — in actuality energy is only generated when the wind blows at just the right speed, which is occasional. Solar only works in the daytime. We don’t know how to store energy. Both require more land than we would be willing to use.

It sounds like BP was not as cautious as they should have been in the belief that nothing could go wrong. The president’s commission to investigate is largely composed of ideologues with no knowledge or experience of the oil industry, who have a history of being anti-petroleum. Troubling.

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Comment by The Elephant's Child

It has been widely reported today that Judge Feldman did own stocks in oil-related industries, but sold them over a year ago. Otherwise he would have recused himself.

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Comment by The Elephant's Child

Sold them over a year ago, huh? He must have had inside information….. must have known that the spill was coming…. hmmm….

(it was a joke it was a joke it was a joke!)

😉

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Comment by hippieprof




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