American Elephants

Ethanol: Dirtier Air, More Pollution, Ruined Engines — So the EPA Wants You To Use More! by The Elephant's Child

The ethanol industry has a problem.  They have built too many distilleries, and made more ethanol than can be put in your gas tank at the current limit.  There has been a limit, at 10%, on how much ethanol can be put in each gallon of gasoline  because more would have a negative impact on your car. The EPA has just announced that it will raise the limit to 15% to bail out the ethanol industry.

Unless your car has a new flex-fuel engine, it can’t take the greater percentage,  which will probably destroy the engines of your gasoline powered equipment, like lawn mowers, or boat motors or even leaf-blowers.  Boat owners are already having to pay for expensive repairs to their boats’ fuel lines and tanks.  And of course, each gallon of ethanol won’t give you as much power as a gallon of gasoline.

To quote energy expert, and author of Power Hungry ,Robert Bryce:

The EPA is granting them a bailout by allowing ethanol producers to blend more of their corrosive, hydrophilic, low-heat content fuel into our gasoline.  And while the agency’s ruling limits the use of the higher-ethanol-content gasoline to model year 2007 and newer cars and trucks, the move further complicates the American motor-fuel market, which is already the most Balkanized motor-fuel market in the world.  Refiners are now producing about 45 different blends of gasoline and multiple blends of diesel fuel.  Managing all those different fuels increases costs that are ultimately borne by the consumer.

Ethanol is a pure scam.  In July the CBO reported that corn-ethanol subsidies cost U.S. taxpayers more than $7 billion a year.   Corn-based ethanol is not supportable on economic, environmental or logistical grounds.  It increases air pollution, water pollution, freshwater consumption, coastal pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and food prices.  We  have had three decades of subsidies, yet no decline in oil imports.

The real outrage is air quality. The EPA  admitted in 2007 that increased use of ethanol in gasoline would increase emissions of key air pollutants by as much as 7 percent.  On Wednesday they again acknowledged that increased ethanol consumption will mean higher emissions of key pollutants.

In August 39 groups asked congress to hold hearings about the proposed increase.  An amazing coalition— the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Working Group, the Boat Owners Assn., Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society, Motorcycle Industry, Service Station Dealers and Friends of the Earth, to name a few.  Congressional Democrats couldn’t be bothered.

Wesley Clark, onetime Democrat presidential candidate heads Growth Energy, and ethanol advocacy group, said that “much more must be done to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.” Subsidies  and mandates haven’t cut imports at all.  This is simply the Obama administration’s attempt to buy the farm lobby.

How ObamaCare Kills Jobs. by The Elephant's Child

Senators Tom Coburn M.D. (R.,Okla.) and John Barrasso M.D. (R.,Wyo.) released a 27 page report yesterday, called “Grim Diagnosis’ A Check-Up on the Federal Health Law.” The Report’s emphasis— something that has not been much noticed— is the effect of the law on unemployment and jobs.

These two Senators are practicing physicians as well as legislators, and their view of ObamaCare  deserves our attention.  They direct us to the Congressional Budget Office’s August economic outlook, in which the CBO estimates that the expansion of Medicaid and insurance subsidies will shrink the labor market by around 780,000 jobs or one half of one percent.  That is about 50 percent more jobs than are sponsored by GM, Ford and Chrysler combined.

The report contains four sections on ObamaCare’s impact on unemployment; one on the CBO’s estimates for job losses caused by the law; another on how forcing employers to pay for health insurance will be an incentive to hire fewer employees; how the law reduces job opportunities for young employees, and one on how the rising health costs themselves will squeeze employers.  Basic economics: If each employee costs more to hire, you will hire fewer people.

The CLASS Act, an assisted-living entitlement, needs to attract a sufficiently healthy group of enrollees, yet the law requires the program to enroll all eligible people who apply, a goodly number of whom will have been unable to obtain coverage int he private market.  If the larger percentage are sicker and need more care, it would undermine the long-run stability of the program.

The law makes the crisis worse by forcing states to dramatically expand Medicaid.  Texas alone estimates that the law will force them to spend an additional $27 billion on Medicaid from 2014–2023.  Nationally, states’ costs could exceed hundreds of billions of dollars — costs that were not part of the CBO’s estimates.  Those costs would force states, currently struggling with their own budgets, to cut their other spending on education, highways and poverty programs.

Senator Patty Murray Makes a Football Analogy. by The Elephant's Child
October 26, 2010, 7:13 am
Filed under: Humor, Sports | Tags: , ,

“When you get the kickoff in the end zone way behind and you got to pick it up and you got to get it all the way to the other end, kinda happened to us when he became president and we got this little football from the Bush administration waaaay back in the end zone, had to pick it up and play by play by heard-earned yard a hard-earned yard, get it up the field to the 50-yard line, and it was tough work. Well, I’ll tell you what, when you get to the 50-yard line, you don’t say, ‘Shoo, that was hard I’m going home.’ You don’t say, ‘I don’t like that last play I’m giving up.’ You pick up that football and you keep going and you get your team together till you get it into the end zone, and that’s what we’re doing under the leadership of this president.”— Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.), Oct. 21

Changing the Game in the Middle East? by The Elephant's Child

Back in 2002, I preserved a quotation that I liked from an article in the Wall Street Journal by Todd Bucholtz:

And then there is Israel today.  It may be settled by God’s chosen people, but He chose not to give them a drop of oil, while gushers spout across Arabia.  And its terrain doesn’t naturally grow enough green for a sprig of parsley on your dinner plate.  Yet the land blooms.  In the race for development would you rather bet on a country with tons of zinc or one with a couple of extra IQ points and a free flow of ideas?

Now, drilling has begun on the Leviathan, a record-setting exploratory well in a massive natural-gas field off the coast of Haifa.  The area is thought to contain 16 trillion cubic feet of gas, and it might also contain oil.  The Tamar natural-gas field struck last year is expected to produce enough gas to supply Israel for 20 years.  Leviathan may be twice as big.  This is a very big deal for Israel has long depended on natural gas imports from Egypt.  If Leviathan produces as much as is hoped for,  Israel might even become an exporting country.

The Lebanese government and Hezbollah are claiming that whatever is found off the Israeli coast actually belongs to them.  Israel says the fields it is developing do not extend into Lebanese waters, which officials say seems to be correct, but the maritime boundary between the two countries has never been precisely set, and they are still officially at war.

The development does raise security issues.  The offshore infrastructure could become a target.  If Lebanon brings in their own deposits.  There are signs of deposits although their size is not known.  Warnings from Hezbollah may be more for domestic consumption.  Israel and Lebanon have been among the few countries in the Middle East without substantial  and lucrative natural resources.  Israel has a powerful high-tech sector, and Lebanon has boomed with tourism and real estate, so the discoveries are not desperately necessary, but would be a nice boost.

A new preliminary geological survey suggests that there may be 26 million barrels of recoverable oil underneath two kibbutzim in the Western Negev, near Gaza.  Additional studies are needed, but if it proves out it would strengthen Israel’s energy independence.

If the new sources of energy lead to greater prosperity, it may lead to less conflict; or then again, maybe not.

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