American Elephants


The EPA’s Enormous Land Grab by The Elephant's Child

unofficial-stream-small-custom-e1339556645568The EPA  has just finalized one of the biggest land grabs in American history.

Just reprimanded by the Supreme Court, the EPA is anxious to try their luck again. Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA was  granted the authority to regulate the navigable waters of the United States to see that they remained clean.

Under the Clean Water Rule, all  “tributaries” will be regulated by the federal government. Broadly defined, which they intend, this means  anything moist that eventually flows into something that can be defined as a “navigable river,” including the roadside ditch above, and even smaller trickles.

Under the same rule, the word “adjacent” is stretched from the Supreme Court’s definition of actually “abutting” what most Americans regard as a real water of the United States to anything “neighboring,” “contiguous,” or “bordering” a real water, terms which are again stretched to include whole floodplains and riparian areas. Floodplains are typically based on a 100-year flood, but a separate regulation would stretch that to a 500-year flood.

And, finally, under the rule, the EPA cynically throws in a catch-all “significant nexus” test meant as a shout out to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in Rapanos v. United States when, in fact, the EPA’s rule makes a mockery of Kennedy’s opinion and of no fewer than three Supreme Court rulings.

Under the three approaches, no land or “water” is beyond the reach of the federal government, never mind the traditional understanding of private property or state and local control of land use.

Farmers, ranchers, dairymen and everyone in rural America are in panic mode. Not only does this rule allow the EPA onto their land, but it throws wide open to environmental group-led citizen lawsuits that promise to go far beyond what the EPA envisioned. Citizen lawsuits are controlled only by the rule. The rule carries with it fines to the tune of $37,500 a day. The EPA has a habit of imposing fines big enough to scare the accused  of whatever violation into immediate compliance.

I grew up very rural, and I’m sure city people cannot imagine the havoc this rule could cause. Although here in the Seattle area, a good portion of our lawns could be considered wetlands for a portion of the year. It rains a lot, and there is runoff. Farmers and ranchers spend a significant amount of time ditching, or controlling the flow of water where it is not wanted.

The goal of the Environmental Protection Agency has little to do with the environment, but only to do with how environmental regulation can be used to further their political goals of control, ending private property, and bringing on the utopia where everyone is, at last, truly equal. Well, except for those in charge, of course.



What Kills the Most Birds? Oil Spills or Green Ideology? by The Elephant's Child
June 19, 2015, 6:28 am
Filed under: Energy, Environment, Global Warming | Tags: , , ,

oil-soaked

Whenever there is an oil spill on the water, American media are filled with photos and videos of oil soaked birds. The coverage prompts the self-appointed environmental defenders of wildlife to erupt in righteous fury, wringing their hands and blaming the greedy oil companies and blaming careless people of the West for demanding more and more energy so they can fuel their enormous RVs and yachts in crimes against nature.

Fossil fuels are evil, and the alternative is “clean” renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy. Wind and solar energy are natural and sustainable. And solar energy produces less than 1% of our electricity needs, requires 24 hour 7days a week backup from a conventional power plant. If the subsidies vanished, so would solar energy. But the birds, those beautiful birds, dying from filthy fossil fuels!

In the most recent U.S. oil spill off the coast of California, 161 birds died, as of the latest count. Truly sad.

Estimates for bird deaths by wind turbine run from 100,000 a year (The National Research Council), to 300,000 (American Bird Conservancy). Bloomberg News put the toll at 573,000 birds in 2012. That’s for wind turbines. The estimate for  birds roasted by the Ivanpah solar-thermal plant in the Mojave Desert are — one every two minutes — or roughly 28,000 birds killed in a year. Ivanpah focuses the heat from 170,000 mirrors on three 450-foot tall towers generating heat up to 800°. The songbird numbers are hard to estimate for they simply go up in a puff of smoke. The government chooses to look the other way, and ignore laws about raptor deaths because global warming. They gave their lives in a noble cause — renewable energy.

To be fair, the 2010 BP oil spill did substantial damage to wildlife in the region. The Fish and Wildlife Service reported 2,202 “visibly oiled” dead birds were collected within the Deepwater Horizon/ BP incident impact area. Big oil spills, however, are fairly rare, and birds chopped by turbines or roasted by solar mirrors are continuous.

The article in Investors claimed the biggest cause of bird deaths was cats. They said “one study claims that cats are responsible for killing about 2.4 billion birds a year.” I’m suspicious of that statistic. I’ve always had cats (and dogs, bunnies and horses) and I can’t remember but one time I found a bird carcase around the house. One cat was death on garden snakes, and had a bad habit of bringing them into the house and turning them loose. She loosed one on the stairs and I nearly broke a leg when I almost stepped on it.



The EPA Reports there Is No Danger to Drinking Water Supplies From “Fracking” by The Elephant's Child
June 5, 2015, 3:47 pm
Filed under: Energy, Environment | Tags: , ,

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The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a 1,000 page report briskly titled “Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources.” The Executive Summary is only 28 pages.

The EPA report says that there is no systemic danger to drinking water supplies from fracking. There have been a few instances of improper drilling techniques, and a very few identified cases where one or more mechanisms led to contamination of drinking water wells, but the number of cases was small compared to the number of hydraulically fractured wells.

The New York Times reported:

The report identified 151 cases from 2006 to 2012 in which fracking fluids or chemicals spilled on or near a drilling well. The spills ranged from 5 gallons to more than 19,000 gallons, with equipment failure the most common cause. Fluids reached surface water in 13 cases and soil in 97 cases, the report said. None of the spills were reported to have reached groundwater.

The environmental movement was outraged. They have their approved story line, and certainly are not going to accept any correction. One group, Earthworks, insisted that the report says the opposite of what it actually says. Expect comments that “the government is trying to cover up…”

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing ,”fracking,” has increased domestic crude oil production of 3.6 million barrels a day in less than four years. reversing  almost four decades of decline. In response to sharply lower prices, domestic oil producers have shed jobs and cut operating rigs by more than half.

The smartest competitors have worked relentlessly to increase their productivity. Leading operators report that they can produce more profitable oil today at a price of $65 a barrel than they could three years ago at $95 a barrel.

Wells in light tight-oil formations can be drilled and completed for millions—not billions—of dollars, and the majority of the estimated recovery will occur within a year or two of bringing it on line. Capacity across a diversified portfolio of wells can be turned on when future prices justify it, and off when they don’t. That turns upside-down the traditional model of oil megaprojects that require billions in upfront capital, years of lead time, and always-on production irrespective of price.

All this means that, for the first time in history, oil production is becoming a modern manufacturing process. The frackers are engaged in “just-in-time” production, analogous to the methods pioneered by Japanese manufacturers in the 1970s and 1980s, which led directly to hyper-efficient global supply-chain management perfected by Wal-Mart in the 1990s. (emphasis added)



It’s All Falling Apart. Chapter Four by The Elephant's Child
June 3, 2015, 6:19 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Environment, Regulation | Tags: , , ,

unofficial-stream-small-custom-e1339556645568The Environmental Protection Agency, fresh off declaring it can regulate all industrial activity to get rid of CO² in our atmosphere, has announced their intent to save the nation’s rivers, streams, rivulets and wetlands from “pollution and degradation.”

The intent, as the Obama administration announced, is to save the nation’s streams, headwaters, creeks and wetlands from “pollution and degradation.”

“Protecting our water sources is a critical component of adapting to climate change impacts,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, adding that the new rule would help “strengthen our economy and provide certainty to American businesses.”

The EPA claims authority to do what it’s doing under the 1972 Clean Water Act, which is supposed to cover only “navigable waterways.”

The rule would extend EPA authority over dry creeks that carry water in the rainy season, potholes and puddles. Here in the Northwest, every backyard turns into a “wetland” during a good portion of the year. Any private individual or business that wants to do anything connected to water will have to ask the government’s permission.

The House has voted to send the rule back to the EPA for reconsideration. The Senate has a bill to do the same.

Every rule promulgated by the federal government reflects a new restriction on Americans to do what they wish with their own lives, talents and property. Meanwhile, few, if any, tangible benefits exist. That’s what the administrative state represents.



There are more important things in the news! by The Elephant's Child

Another small addition to the idea that we may have way too many aspiring newsmen. It is the first week of April, and we have one announced candidate for the office of President of the United States. Yet the news daily is filled with commentary on the presidential campaign. Most viable potential candidates have already had attacks of one sort or another as reporters strive to be the first one to find a real flaw to knock someone out of the race.

April 1, from The New York Times (not an April Fools Joke): “Scott Walker, Allergic to Dogs, May Run Against Political History:”

The attention to Mr. Walker’s likely candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination has focused on weighty matters such as his battles with the left, faltering forays into foreign policy and conservative stances on social issues including abortion and gun rights. But little notice has been given to an area in which he faces a different sort of constitutional challenge: overcoming his aversion to man’s best friend.

Jeb Bush can lament how he lost a Labrador (named for his brother Marvin) to cancer. Marco Rubio has a Shih Tzu, with a name like a gift from heaven: Manna. Ted Cruz goes one better: His rescue mutt is called Snowflake. (“Dear Jesus, please, please, PLEASE bring us a puppy,” his daughters prayed, according to Mr. Cruz’s Facebook page.) And if Mr. Walker makes it to November, he could face Hillary Rodham Clinton and her toy poodle, Tally.

Mr. Walker, who gives a gloomy stump speech filled with “worry,” perhaps could use a four-legged image softener of his own. But he is allergic to dog dander, an aide confirmed.

Well, says the Times, in that he’s running against the long sweep of American political history. If there was a handbook for candidates, “must love dogs” would be right up front.



FEMA Will Deny Preparedness Funds Unless You Believe by The Elephant's Child

Starting next year in March, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will approve disaster-preparedness funds only for states whose governors have approved mitigation plans to address climate change. This does not affect funds for disaster relief after a hurricane, flood or tornado, but those funds directed to preparedness for a disaster.

Unfortunately, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes are not caused by Global Warming. Obama’s FEMA Director Craig Fugate explained back in 2012 that hurricanes are cyclical, not linked to Anthropogenic Global Warming.

“Well, I’m not a meteorologist. I’m not a climate scientist, and hurricanes are cyclic,” Fugate responded. “I do know history, and if you look at history and you look at hurricane activity, there are periods of increased and decreased activity that occurs over decades,” Fugate said. “Throughout the ‘60s, ‘70s, early ‘80s, up until about ’95, the Atlantic was actually in a period of below-average activity, even though you had significant storms like Andrew, Frederic, and David.”…

“But the reality is the history says we’ve had this period of activity, we’ve had a period of quiet,” Fugate said. “We’ve had a period of activity; we’ve had a period of quiet. And so what we’ve seen is not what we — we’ve seen this in history before.”

The whole FEMA issue of withholding funds based on accepting the administrations mantra about climate change is pure politics, not science.

The promoters of climate change are attempting to silence skeptics before the UN Paris climate summit and the next Presidential election and the implications for EPA climate regulations. They are trying to intimidate any scientists who have dared to testify before Congress. What are they threatening? They will call them “Deniers” a dire threat, for who cannot see that the climate is changing all the time, and they will claim that they are supported by oil companies. They are all quite sure that corporations are bad, and certainly the corporations that produce dread fossil fuels are the very worst of all.

It’s amazing how they can all cheerfully line up at the gas pumps, grateful for the drop in the price of gasoline, apparently completely oblivious to how that came about. They are sure that the world could run on clean solar energy and wind power, without understanding that each of those tiny sources of energy only exist because they are backed up full time with conventional power plants. But then they jet off to conferences without the slightest concern for their carbon footprints (whatever those are) or even a thought for how modern travel came about and how those airplanes were produced.

It is not hypocrisy that sends them off to attack climate scientists, but willful ignorance. They believe, and you must not challenge their religion.



About the Coming Catastrophe: It’s Not the Climate! by The Elephant's Child

Fear of catastrophic climate change exists only in computer models which are used to predict the future on the basis of not very much real knowledge. That we don’t really know very much about earthly climate should be obvious from all the controversy.

The earth has been warming very gradually for 300 years, since the Little Ice Age ended, well before we discovered the use of fossil fuels. Prior to the Little Ice Age was the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings colonized Greenland and Newfoundland, and it was warmer than today. That was a period when humanity thrived. Before that were the Dark Ages, and before than the Roman Warming. Humanity has been pretty successful at adapting to change. Why is it only now that we fear change as a portent of disaster? Too many end if the world scenarios in the movies?

The idea that it would be catastrophic if carbon-dioxide were to increase and average global temperatures were to rise a few degrees is just silly. And there is no evidence whatsoever that the climate will become drastically warmer, or that the sea will rise by feet rather than millimeters. None.

A new scientific study by Bjorn Stevens of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany published in the American Meteorological Society Journal—finds the effect of aerosols on climate are much smaller that those in almost all of the computer models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Aerosols are the minute particles added to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels (as well as by non-anthropogenic sources, like volcanoes). The reason they are important is that they are so often cited by alarmists to excuse the awkward fact that the world has stubbornly failed to warm at the disastrous rate they predicted it would.”

A NASA expert in 2009 said:

Using climate models, we estimate that aerosols have masked about 50 percent of the warming that would otherwise have been caused by greenhouse gases trapping heat near the surface of the Earth.

There was a lack of global warming, a cooling period, between 1940 and 1970 (ice age?) when there was increased industrialization and extra man-made CO².  Aerosols have been used to explain the lack of warming.

The new Stevens paper has been called a “game changer” by one expert in the field — Nic Lewis.

According to the IPCC’s models, the effect of aerosols on the climate could be as much as 4.5 degrees. The Stevens paper says this is a big overestimate and the reduction they effect on temperature cannot be more than 1.8 degrees C. If the cooling effects of aerosols is much smaller than the IPCC thinks, then the rise in global temperatures that can be attributed to man-made CO² is much smaller than the alarmist computer models acknowledge.

The terrestrial temperature measuring stations have been shown to vastly overestimate warming as well, for many are improperly sited next to air-conditioner exhausts, walls that reflect heat, trash burners, next to asphalt parking lots — all locations that artificially raise the heat measurement on the thermometers.

Satellite measurement began about 1980, I think. The climate models are unable to predict the present climate when we know what it is. Mankind has always wanted to predict the future, but I don’t know that it’s any better now than when they were tossing bones, or reading tea leaves. Lord knows they’ve tried, especially with financial markets.  The models devised for predicting the future of the stock market were, I believe I read, the original source for the climate models. Any successful predictions are apt to be just lucky guesses, otherwise we wouldn’t have Las Vegas, nor a Lottery, nor losses on the stock market. We are not meant to know the future,but to be wise enough to prepare for what might be.

ADDENDUM: Dr.Roy Spencer and Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, who developed the satellites that give us the only real time climate measurements, are celebrating their 25th anniversary, so they started measuring in 1990. I was only ten years off!

 




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