American Elephants


The EPA Is A Lawless, Rogue Agency That Should Be Abolished. by The Elephant's Child

unofficial-stream-small-custom-e1339556645568We have complained about Congress’ inclination to pass a broad law and turn the clarifying, defining and rulemaking functions over to a federal agency. That’s not quite fair, except in the case of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The Clean Water Act regulates the discharge of pollution into navigable waters. Rather than limit the definition of “navigable waters” to mean waters that are interstate and navigable in fact—the Clean Water Act broadens the definition of “navigable waters” so as to include non-navigable waters in order to give federal regulators a greater degree of environmental oversight. It was passed in 1972, with some specific exclusions, and has been a fairly steady source of litigation ever since.

In 2006, in Rapanos v. United States, four left-leaning justices ruled that there are no limits on federal jurisdiction. Four right-leaning justices ruled that federal jurisdiction is limited to “relatively permanent, standing, or continuously flowing bodies of water forming geographic features.” One justice (Kennedy) wrote that a water or wetland constitutes “navigable waters” under the Act if it possesses a “significant nexus” to waters that are navigable in fact or that could reasonably be so made.  You see the problem.

In May of this year, the EPA and the USACE (the Army Corps of Engineers) interpreted the Rapanos decision in the broadest fashion they could and promulgated the “Waters of the United States” rule, supposedly to clarify federal jurisdiction.

  • The EPA colluded with environmental special interests at the Sierra Club to manipulate the public comment period, in possible violation of federal anti-lobbying laws, as reported by The New York Times.
  • Also, the EPA ignored state input during the public comment period, in blatant contravention of the principles of cooperative federalism established by the Clean Water Act.

It’s all based on the term “significant nexus,” and ephemeral streams were added to federal jurisdiction, so all the feds have to do is claim jurisdiction—ant the argument can be made that everything is connected. Including ponds, ditches and puddles.

Fast forward to last Thursday August 27: a federal judge in North Dakota blocked the new Obama administration rule that would  the federal government jurisdiction over some state waterways.give

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota issued a temporary injunction against the rule, which gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers authority to protect some streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. The rule was scheduled to take effect Friday.

“The risk of irreparable harm to the states is both imminent and likely,” Erickson said in blocking the rule from taking effect.

Thirteen states led by North Dakota were involved in the lawsuit: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming.

August 28, Headline, Fox News: “EPA says clean water rule in effect despite court ruling” (Heather MacDonald: “lawlessness breeds lawlessness”) Apparently— never mind the federal court, we’re going to do what want! The EPA says the rule will safeguard drinking water for millions of Americans. Well, of course you have noticed the millions of Americans dropping dead from drinking puddle water and ditch water. The American Farm Bureau has declared war. Lawsuits to block the regulation are pending across the country, Congress has moved to thwart it, The White House has threatened to veto.  Opposition, however comes from both parties, businesses and most states.

The EPA has become known as an out-of-control rogue agency, and is probably the most hated agency in the government— though that designation may be up for grabs. When the head of the executive branch makes law on his own, ignores laws at his pleasure, and in general ignores his sacred oath, the agencies under his direction do the same. “Lawlessness breeds lawlessness.”

In the wake of the Gold King Mine spill of 3 or more million gallons of  toxic mine tailings into the Animus River, turning the river a nasty mustard color, the EPA is undoubtedly anxious to get news about their agency out of the nation’s consciousness.Bad timing. Now that the toxic waters have progressed to Lake Powell and past, the media has quietly dropped the daily pictures—just as they are about to reach Grand Canyon National Park. There is a limit to the amount of bad news an agency can cope with.



Is the Left Stealing the Coal Industry? No Morals Or Honor? by The Elephant's Child

I’m not particularly interested in conspiracies. I do my share of speculating about cause and results, but in general I want evidence, trusted sources, and some kind of proof. But I found this particular post from Tom Lifson at American Thinker intriguing.

Now comes the shocking news, via Steve Milloy writing on Breitbart, that following President Obama’s use of CO2 emissions as a weapon to drive major coal companies near bankruptcy, the ultimate politically connected speculator George Soros is buying up stock in major coal producers on the cheap.

I predicted in this column last week that the left wasn’t going to kill off the coal industry so much as it was going to steal it. That prediction is already becoming true courtesy of billionaire George Soros.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Act filings indicate that Soros has purchased an initial 1 million shares of Peabody Energy and 553,200 shares of Arch Coal, the two largest publicly traded U.S. coal companies. As pointed out last week, both companies have been driven perilously close to bankruptcy by the combination of President Obama’s “war on coal” and inexpensive natural gas brought on by the hydrofracturing revolution.

Well, isn’t that interesting. Are Democrats just fixated on doing what they want, and never mind the law or propriety? It would seem so. The same George Soros apparently paid protesters from Ferguson to go to Baltimore and try to stir up trouble — at least according to the protesters who were complaining about not getting paid. Al Gore has used Global Warming to amass a fortune, yet does not observe any of the rules that he espouses to save energy himself. Tom Steyer made his fortune in oil and natural gas, and now tries to manipulate federal policy to stop the Keystone pipeline. Lots of conspiracy material.



The Clean Power Plan Is Not So Clean by The Elephant's Child

blobPresident Obama is embarked on his Clean Power Plan, in an effort to fulfill the last of his campaign promises, and put in place some kind of legacy — so he has something to put into the billion dollar presidential library he is planning.

You remember the megalomaniacial claim — “this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.” It just hasn’t gone well. Health Care costs are spiraling out of control, we are in the most sluggish recovery ever, millions have just dropped out of the job market.  The oceans rise only in millimeters, not the feet that Obama seems to fear.

The Clean Power Plan is one of the most controversial mandates ever to be attempted. The EPA has received over 1.6 million comments on the proposed rule which attempts to reduce CO2 emissions from conventional power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. But the American power sector’s CO2 emissions are now at their lowest level since 1988, and this is with a larger population and increase energy use. In 1988 we had a population of 245 million,  today there are 319 million energy consumers. Roughly 50 percent more electricity is generated, yet emission levels are low.

So will the Clean Power Plan have a significant impact on global carbon dioxide emissions? No. The expected reductions in emissions would reduce global temperatures by about 0.03 degrees Celsius by 2100. An analysis of the proposed ruling by NERA Economic Consulting estimated that the Clean Power Plan could cost the electric sector between $41 billion and $73 billion per year, and accomplish nothing, nothing at all.

The Reason Foundation takes on the Clean Power Plan’s main claims and finds them wanting. The White House claims that the plan will “Save the average American family nearly $85 on their annual energy ill in 2030, reducing enough energy to power 30 million homes, and save consumers a total of $155 billion from 2020 -2030.”Sounds like a lot like the expectations for ObamaCare. In reality, Reason says, the rule will almost certainly spend more in total on energy and energy saving devices than without the rule. Do read the whole thing, it’s a significant debunking.

Britain, Canada and Australia are all cutting back on subsidies for renewables, as is Germany as well. Spain ended their subsidies some time ago.

Anthony Watts at wattsupwiththat writes about a report “exposing coordination between Governors, the Obama White House and the Tom Steyer-“Founded and Funded” network of advocacy groups to advance the “climate” agenda, revealing a vast, coordinated, three track effort by public officials and private interests to promote EPA’s expansive, overreaching and economically devastating greenhouse gas rules, specifically the section 111(d) regulation to shut the nation’s fleet of existing coal-fired power plants, as well as the December Paris climate treaty President Obama is expected to sign to replace the Kyoto Protocol.”

The exposé details a campaign to use public offices, in very close collaboration with wealthy benefactors, to advance and defend President Obama’s climate change regulatory and treaty agenda. This quasi-governmental campaign involves more than a dozen governors’ offices with a parallel advocacy network and political operation funded and staffed by activists paid through ideologically and politically motivated donors.

So there you go. In spite of the attractive sounding name, the Clean Power Plan is just not what it is cracked up to be. It has been suggested that the States can just refuse to go along.



CO2 is Greening the Earth, Benefiting the Biosphere, and Lifting the Poor Out of Poverty. by The Elephant's Child

greeningCraig D. Idso is the founder and former President of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and currently serves as Chairman of the Center’s board of directors. He has written:

At a fundamental level, carbon dioxide is the basis of nearly all life on Earth, as it is the primary raw material or “food” that is utilized by plants to produce the organic matter out of which they construct their tissues…

Typically, a doubling of the air’s CO2 content above present-day concentrations raises the productivity of most herbaceous plants by about one-third; this positive response occurs in plants that utilize all three of the major biochemical pathways of photosynthesis.

There is no doubt elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO2 lead to enhanced plant photosynthesis and growth. This well-known fact has been confirmed over and over again in literally thousands of laboratory and field studies conducted by scientists over the past several decades. In recent years, however, the growth-enhancing benefits of atmospheric CO2 have been increasingly studied and observed in the real world of nature using Earth-orbiting satellites. Such instruments have the capability to remotely sense plant growth and vigor at altitudes miles above the Earth’s surface; and they have generated a spatial and temporal record of vegetative change that now spans more than three decades. And what has that record revealed?

The take-home message of the satellite data is two-fold. First, at the global level, all recent studies show there has been a significant greening of the planet over the past few decades despite the occurrence of a number of real (and imagined) assaults on Earth’s vegetation, including wildfires, disease, pest outbreaks, deforestation, and climatic changes in temperature and precipitation. Greening has more than compensated for any of the negative effects these phenomena may have had on the global biosphere during that time. Second, there is compelling evidence that the atmosphere’s rising CO2 content—which is considered by many to be the chief threat  to the future of the biosphere via climate change—is most likely the primary cause of the observed greening trends.

Do read the whole thing, including the references. This is why Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” will accomplish nothing beyond putting a lot of coal miners and power plant workers out of work. CO2 is NOT a pollutant, but essential to life on earth. If all the billions of dollars of new wind farms and solar arrays were actually to accomplish anything, it might make a difference of 0.03ºC by 2100. Just another failure to add to the legacy.



Not a Lot of Media Coverage of the Decline and Fall of the EPA by The Elephant's Child

gty_mine_wastewater_spill_03_jc_150811_4x3_992-e1439327486898-620x266Have you noticed that there is not a lot of media coverage about the big EPA toxic mine tailings spill? Have you noticed that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is not out in the Navajo lands consulting with Navajo Nation president Russell Begaye? The spill has been quietly upped from one million gallons to three million gallons, but that’s pretty complicated math and probably nobody knows.

This is very big and very bad news for the EPA and for the Obama Administration. It has been six days, and we still don’t know just what happened, just how toxic the surge is, and how long-lasting it will be. They have spoken of  toxic metals, lead, arsenic, cadmium (which I assume is responsible for the yellow color) and what else? There are lots of farms and ranches. How do they cope with water being trucked in, and what do they do with their livestock?

Perhaps the national press will take notice when the plume of yellow muck reaches the Grand Canyon National Park. I have been interested to see the utter contempt with which many seem to regard the Environmental Protection Agency.



The EPA Strikes Out Again. The Clean Power Plan Will Prevent 0.03 Degrees of Warming by 2100. by The Elephant's Child

National Climate Change Certification SchemeThe Obama Administration recently unveiled the president’s “Clean Power Plan” — regulations to shut down more coal-fired power plants in favor of “clean” wind and solar. They are still sure that carbon dioxide, that stuff you exhale, that is plant food and essential to life is a “pollutant”— the zealots at the EPA weren’t paying attention in high school biology. Dr. Judith Curry, a climatologist at Georgia Tech said:

It has been estimated that the U.S. [climate plan] of 28% emissions reduction by 2015 will prevent 0.03 [degrees Celsius] in warming by 2100.

And these estimates assume that climate model projections are correct. If the climate models are over-sensitive to CO2, the amount of warming prevented will be even smaller.

The EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan aims to reduce emissions of CO2 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The EPA claimed all sorts of public health benefits (starting with asthma, it’s always asthma) but carefully avoids any mention of the rule’s impact on global temperatures.

The agency also justified the Clean Power Plan by claiming it would reduce asthma rates, which they say will be exacerbated by global warming. A White House fact sheet claims the rule will “avoid up to 3,600 premature deaths, lead to 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children, and prevent 300,000 missed work and school days.”

(They always use asthma premature deaths because physicians do not know the cause of asthma.)

As far as the global warming thing goes — there has been no warming whatsoever for 18 years and 7 months. None. And things are just not lining up as the warmists expect them to.

Sydney Australia has snow for the first time since 1836. That ‘s the year when Andrew Jackson was president of the United States, Victoria was still a year away from being crowned Queen of England on her 18th birthday, and Davy Crockett died at the Alamo.

The Big Island of Hawaii had snowfall in July. There was also snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California in July. Antarctica has set a new record for ice extent in 2014 and continues to set records for the extent of ice around the southern continent.

Some solar scientists are projecting that due to changes in the sun’s cycles, the earth is likely to suffer from a “Little Ice Age” beginning around 2030. If this is the case, we will need to build more greenhouses, stop shutting down coal plants. Cold kills, and it’s not healthy for plant life either.

The reason is simple. The global warming agenda is not about the planet.

The head of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, readily admits that the real climate change agenda has nothing to do with the environment, but instead is about redistribution of wealth. “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves,” she says, “which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for the, at least, 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”



Weather Forecast: Increasingly Scary Headlines. Pay No Attention. by The Elephant's Child

There is a big global Climate Change meeting in Paris, in December. The propaganda designed to ramp up enthusiasm or terror, as the case may be, will increase. A story by Larry Kummer at”Watts Up With That” reminds us of some of the excess in preparation for the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December of 2009 to prepare us for what to expect. Clearly, the end is near and time is running out.

(1) President ‘has four years to save Earth’” says climate scientist James Hansen in The Guardian, 17 January 2009.

(2) Global warming has reached a ‘defining moment,’ Prince Charles warns” in The Telegraph, 12 March 2009. “The world has “less than 100 months” to save the planet.

(3) We have hours’ to prevent climate disaster” by Elizabeth May (Member of Parliament and leader of Canada’s Green Party) in The Star (Toronto), 24 March 2009. This was run as news, not an op-ed.

(4) “Just 96 months to save world, says Prince Charles” in The Independent. 9 July 2009. “If the world failed to heed his warnings then we all faced the ‘nightmare that for so many of us now looms on the horizon’.”

(5) “Five years to save world from climate change, says WWF“, Australian Broadcasting Company, 18 October 2009 — Excerpt…

“Karl Mallon, a scientist with Climate Risk and one of the key authors of the report, says 2014 has been calculated as the point at which there is no longer enough time to develop the industries that can deliver a low carbon economy. ‘The point of no return,’ he said.

“’If we wait until past 2014 or that’s what modelling shows, then simply put, it will be impossible for industries to grow to the scale that has to be achieved in the time that is available.’”

(6) Gordon Brown said negotiators had 50 days to save the world from global warming and break the “impasse”.“, BBC, 19 October 2009. Brown was the UK PM.

A good time was had by all in picturesque Copenhagen, an expense account-funded vacation with their peers. Journalists evaluated the meeting as a failure. The world was not saved, but continued on in its ongoing pause of 18 years and 7 months of an absence of any warming to worry about. Never fear.

Western Morning News: 18 July, 2015: “His Royal Highness (Prince Charles) warns that we have just 35 years to save the planet from catastrophic climate change.”




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