American Elephants


Private Property Rights Seem Unimportant Until They’re Yours, and They’re Gone. by The Elephant's Child

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Andy and Katie Johnson own a small 8-acre ranch near Bridger, Wyoming, on which they run 10 head of cattle and 4 horses. A creek runs through the property. Mr. Johnson wanted to build a stock pond to water his animals. He got approval from the local government and from the State of Wyoming, and they invested most of their savings in building the stock pond. Birds, fish and other wildlife came.

So did the EPA, who went after the family for violating the Clean Water Act. EPA Director Gina McCarthy used the Johnson family to test the power of the EPA in advance of the passage of their harsh new rules. The rule wasn’t even passed when Ms. McCarthy took out her pen and her phone.

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EPA regulators showed up at the Johnson property in 2014, and announced that the Johnsons were facing a “very serious matter.” The EPA claimed the Johnsons violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The EPA claims the pond discharges into other waterways. Mr. Johnson was ordered to restore the property to its pre-pond state, according to EPA rules for restoration, and pay a fine of $37,500 a day until it was completely restored, and face criminal charges as well.

The EPA’s new rule is a power grab, clean and simple. When Congress created the Clean Water Act, they neglected to define “water.” Big mistake. The Supreme Court defined “the waters of the United States” as “navigable waters” which the EPA promptly redefined as anything that flowed into the navigable waters, and believed they were justified in tracing the “navigable waters” right back to your downspout. Imagine! I’ve used a picture of a trickle in a roadside ditch to point out what they are after. Ms McCarthy wants to be a Commissar of the EPA’s own Empire.

The Johnsons refused to cave in, and enlisted the help of Wyoming Senators Barasso and Enzi, and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, and the Libertarian Pacific Legal Foundation. The Clean Water Act specifically excludes stock ponds. No matter.The fines had reached $16 million when Mr. Johnson’s counter lawsuit against the EPA reached the courts.

More than two years later, Johnson won. In a settlement reached with the EPA, he gets to keep his pond, he won’t need to get a federal permit, the EPA fines have been removed, and all Johnson agreed to do was plant some willow trees and limit access to a portion of his pond for a while.

Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Jonathan Wood called the settlement “a win for the Johnson family, and a win for the environment.”

The federal government stormed onto private property, threatened  a family with massive fines (could $37,500 a day be any more absurd?) and walked away only after being countersued. While the Johnsons were being harassed, the EPA was finalizing their new rule to cover anything from prairie puddles to power plants.

A lawsuit filed by several states came to a halt when a federal judge in North Dakota blocked the EPA from enforcing the rule, which the judge said was “arbitrary and capricious.” The judge ruled that the injunction be applied to all 50 states, but the EPA decided that they would go ahead and enforce the rule in the states that hadn’t sued, until an appeals court stepped in and blocked that runaround.

The EPA has been slapped down by the courts repeatedly for overreaching , but they are zealots — intent on power. “The environment” has become a magical word to which  every business is careful to genuflect. That’s power. Packages and papers come with a notation to ‘please recycle’. Laws protecting the people from polluted air or polluted water are in place.

The EPA is reduced to scanning archives for old studies, not necessarily valid, that will give them a legal leg to stand on. Words are parsed for other possible meanings. Your freedom and property rights depend on a lawyer asking the right questions to get you off whatever hook the EPA decides to impale you with. The agency has long outlived its usefulness and needs to be disbanded permanently.

This is how you suddenly wake up one morning to find yourself resident in a tyranny — with no rights at all. Democrats are quite up front about their contempt for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Constitution provides only Impeachment as a remedy for “high crimes and misdemeanors” — not for overreaching with executive orders and pardon powers and the regulations handed down by agencies established by the executive. We’d all better pay real attention. Government is not a spectator sport.



It’s Not About Clean Water. Another Big Lie From the EPA. by The Elephant's Child

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The House has joined with the Senate in voting to overturn the EPA’s attempt to extend their control of “navigable waters” to every creek, stream, ditch and trickle to exert control over privately owned land across the United States.

The EPA has been acting with Congressional authority over “navigable waterways” since the 1972 Clean Water Act became law. Earlier this year they extended without any input from Congress their “clean water rule” as authority to control dry creeks, potholes and puddles. The intent was that private individuals or businesses would require government permission to do anything on their own property that was remotely related to water — like digging a drainage ditch, for example —that would give Washington sweeping powers over private land.

A federal judge told the EPA in August that it had gone too far, but the EPA shrugged and said they would continue to impose the rule in the 37 states that were not part of the lawsuit.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called the EPA’s attempted rule a “power grab’ last Wednesday —the day the House voted 253-166, with the support of 12 Democrats to overturn the rule. It is the same resolution that was passed by the Senate in November. Now it will go to President Obama’s desk. He will undoubtedly veto the bill.

I’m not sure just when the current crop of Democrats decided that they could be Socialists without actually using the name — by controlling everything with regulation instead of owning the means of production. They are, however, well on their way to extend a web of federal power over everything, including private property.

I don’t know how the Navajos’ lawsuits against the EPA are proceeding over the agency’s toxic spill into the waters that serve the Navajo Nation for drinking water, irrigation and stock feed, but it is simply further proof that the EPA’s efforts are just a power grab, and have nothing to do with clean water — nothing at all.



Pack the Whole Agency Up And Send Them to China. Where They Might Do Some Good by The Elephant's Child

Barbecue-Summer-Outside-cooking-meatSometimes you just don’t know whether to just laugh at the Obama administration, or pity them. The Environmental Protection Agency has it eyes on pollution from backyard barbecues. The agency has announced that it will fund a University of California project to limit emissions resulting in grease drippings with a special tray to catch them, and a “catalytic” filtration system.

Damn fools aren’t content with banning our efficient and inexpensive incandescent lightbulbs, and messing up the lighting fixture market, ruining our shower heads, ditto toilets, washing machines, most appliances, and trying desperately to get control of everything in our houses — now they are going to take on our backyards. The kids’ wading pool is next.

The grant is only for $15,000, so we’ll see what they can do to all barbecues with that much.

The school is proposing two fixes to reduce emissions from barbecues. First, they want to cut back on grease flare-ups. The idea: “A slotted and corrugated tray is inserted immediately prior to meat flipping, and removed immediately after. This short contact time prevents the tray from over-heating and volatilizing the collected grease. This collected grease will then drip off into a collection tray and can be used at the pit master’s discretion.”

But, total capture isn’t “practical,” so a filter and fan are proposed for installation. “The secondary air filtration system is composed of a single pipe duct system which contains a specialized metal filter, a metal fan blade, a drive shaft, and an accompanying power system with either a motorized or manual method. This system can be powered by either an exterior electric motor with a chain-driven drive shaft, directly spinning the fan blade, or a hand-powered crank,” said the project write-up.

When they get down to particulate matter that might possibly be inhaled by barbecue pit masters, it’s time to shut the agency down. Or even better, lets loan the whole bunch to China, permanently. They need help.

We expect to limit the overall air pollution PM [particulate matter] emissions from barbecuing and to alleviate some of the acute health hazards that a barbecue pit master can experience from inhalation. The particulate matter present during cooking with and without the grease diverter and PM2.5 filters will be tested and compared to that of current data using a conventional propane barbecue using a fumehood chamber with detectors at CE-CERT. Personal exposure of PM2.5 will also be monitored throughout the experimentation period to determine the degree of acute exposure of particulates to the cook.



Root Causes: Here’s Why Ferguson Rioted: by The Elephant's Child

There is always an answer for every problem. In the case of Ferguson, Missouri, everyone has been searching for the cause of this summer’s violence. We just weren’t looking in the right place. The violence was clearly caused by climate change.

350.org Strategic Partnership Coordinator Deirdre Smith wrote:

To me, the connection between militarized state violence, racism, and climate change was common-sense and intuitive. Oppression and extreme weather combine to ‘incite’ militarized violence.

Smith explained that poor minority communities have fewer resources to deal with the impacts of climate change, but that “people of color also disproportionately live in climate-vulnerable areas,” which makes climate change a race issue.

The 350.org Strategic Partnership is behind the big climate march this weekend at the UN Climate meeting that everybody important is skipping. And of course, their real interest is the doctrine of “environmental justice,” a notion used by the EPA whenever it seems to be helpful in their legal arguments.

The EPA defines “environmental justice” as the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies,” according to the EPA website.

That makes it a civil rights issue, which brings in a whole different body of laws and regulations. It suggests that power plants or “excessive” car exhaust can be considered civil rights violations — if they occur in poor or minority neighborhoods. The object is not to improve anyone’s life, but control, which is accomplished with a maze of regulation and red tape, and gigantic fines for those who offend the EPA.

Climate, which is a statistic representing worldwide temperatures, affects everyone equally, and since in the last one hundred years it has only warmed by about one degree, we can all adapt fairly well, even the folks in Ferguson. Weather can affect some people more than others because of where they live—in Tornado alley, near the beach where Hurricane Sandy hit. We just had a small earthquake yesterday, but earthquakes are not climate or weather. This one was only a .4 and we didn’t feel it at all.

The National Weather Service says the St.Louis area was not noticeably warmer this summer than it has ever been. At 80.3 degrees F. this August’s average temperature was only the seventh-warmest of the last 20 years, substantially cooler than the high of the last two decades of 83.9 in August of 1995. It got up in the 90s here in the Seattle area as it usually does once or twice a year.



EPA Administrator Admits to Senate That CO2 Regulations are Not About Pollution Control by The Elephant's Child

On Wednesday EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, and slipped in this priceless quote regarding the EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide regulations — the Clean Power Plan.

“And the great thing about this proposal is it really is an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control. It’s about increased efficiency at our plants…It’s about investments in renewables and clean energy. It’s about investments in people’s ability to lower their electricity bills by getting good, clean, efficient appliances, homes, rental units.”

Ms. McCarthy’s Endangerment Finding  was all about the awful effects of “carbon pollution,” whatever that is, on the planet. Now we learn that it not about pollution control? Oooops!

It hasn’t been all that long since Administrator McCarthy admitted that they could not produce the science on which they depend for their outrageous power grabs. Oh.

And back in 2012, EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendanz confirmed that the reason EPA fines are so huge and so unreasonable is simply to make an example of people with truly aggressive fines so you scare everyone into compliance and get people in that industry to clean up quickly.

The problem is that these disputes are often settled in the courts, where judges may know little, if anything, about climate science, and the idea of being exposed as a climate ignoramus is pretty scary.

Ms. McCarthy is an accomplished liar, but this one may come back to bite her.



They Call It “The Great Recession,” But Obama Is Going To Make It Worse, Again. by The Elephant's Child

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We have been told that Obama does not change his mind. If he once believed something, he believes it today. (See Uncommon Knowledge starting at 20:40) He believes in global warming and he believes he can save the country from its ravages. Hence the Big EPA attack announced today on “carbon pollution.” Misinformation rules.

Obama could not get the Democrats’ cap-and-trade scheme through Congress, so he’s attempting to do an end run by turning the whole thing over to the EPA, and embarking on some very uncharted legal waters by so doing. It is far from obvious that the Obama administration has any legal authority for this, aside from the faulty internal logic of the program itself. Obama supposedly thinks we will set a good example for China, who will then follow in cutting back on emissions. Coal does not care where it is burned. Reducing demand here just makes it less expensive abroad, and they can use more of it.

The notion that “global warming” is caused by an increase in CO² in the atmosphere arose because they saw global temperatures going up and CO² increasing and assumed the latter was causing the former. Turned out that the increases in temperature were faulty because so many of the monitoring stations were placed in the middle of acres of concrete reflecting heat, or next to air-conditioner exhausts, so the readings reflected a much higher temperature than was accurate. Now the sun has gone quiet (no sunspots) and there has been no increase in temperature for 17 years and 9 months, but the CO² in the atmosphere keeps right on increasing. Ooops!

“Carbon pollution is ‘soot,’ which is not a problem. The EPA’s own data shows that it is well below EPA stated standards, and has declined by 50% since 1999. We are carbon life forms. Carbon is one of the building blocks of life—if you omitted carbon from the earth, you would omit life. You exhale carbon dioxide which is not a pollutant. And 97% of scientists do NOT agree about global warming. Hurricanes are not caused by climate change. Tornadoes, floods and hurricanes are weather, not climate change nor global warming.

The president does not learn from the experience of others. Countries in Europe went for green jobs, solar arrays and wind farms in a big way, and practically destroyed their nations in the process. Spain found that their economy lost 2½ jobs in the regular economy for every green job, due to the higher cost of energy. Mr. Obama has been warned that such an attempt to install cap-and-trade by restricting coal-fired power plants would create havoc throughout the economy with a climbing cost of power, a quarter of a million jobs a year lost due to the higher cost of energy— which means the higher cost of everything. He denies it.

EPA director Gina McCarthy, who apparently flunked high school biology, announced a draft rule seeking a 30% reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030 from existing power plants based on emission levels from 2005. This agency is ruling that the states must implement the rules and submit their compliance plans by June 2016. The only way a 30% reduction would be possible is by upgrading all combustion units, and the ultimate cost of the upgrades would make coal noncompetitive. The EPA’s own model estimates that its new policies would prevent a grand total of 0.018% in warming by 2100. The EPA’s inspector general says the agency may rely on faulty data.

Of course this may not be about global warming at all, but simply another tax—a very large one, used to underwrite favors for Democratic interest groups and creating corporate subsidies for politically connected businesses who have financial positions in so-called clean-energy technologies.

The vigor and innovation of the American economy has long depended on cheap, reliable power. So-called clean ‘renewable’ energy is only produced with fossil fuels, for both wind and solar require 24/7 backup from conventional power plants. The wind is highly intermittent, and power is only produced when the wind blows steadily at the right speed.  Solar energy is only produced when the sun shines, and it sinks beneath the horizon every night, and clouds block the sun. Wind turbines are made from carbon.

If you think your power bill is high now — just wait.

 



EPA’s At It Again. Mandated “Green” Fuel Will Damage Cars. by The Elephant's Child

AAA has urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to halt sales of gasoline with higher ethanol concentrations, on Friday, contending the fuel blend causes engine damage not covered under most  auto warranties.

The EPA has been hellbent to get E15 ethanol blend into the nation’s gas pumps, despite warning cries from all sides. Cars from model year 2001 and later are supposedly able to handle E15 the fuel blend made up of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent petroleum. Automakers say that the EPA is only considering the fuel’s impact on emissions control systems while disregarding the impact on the rest of the vehicle.

AAA conducted a survey and found that 95% of people had never heard of E15, which means many innocents may improperly fill up with this gasoline and permanently damage their vehicle. The agency said that many automakers refuse to honor warranties for wear and tear from the higher ethanol fuel blend.

AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet said “Bringing E15 to market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers.”

The Renewable Fuels Association accused AAA of acting as a conduit for oil firms. Bob Dinneen, the association;s CEO, said petroleum groups want to defeat E15 because it cuts into oil’s market share.

Getting E15 widely available on the market is a chief concern for biofuels groups. The industry must hit accelerating ethanol blending targets established by the renewable fuel standard, and doing so with 10 percent ethanol blends will likely be untenable after 21013.

Dinneen claimed that E15 is “the most aggressively and comprehensively tested fuel in the history of the EPA.” Uh huh.

GM spokesperson Sharon Basel said the EPA was being “irresponsible” by permitting the use of E15 without evaluating the fuel’s effects on the entire car. AAA noted that BMW. Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen do not cover damage from E15 under their warranties.  Ford, Honda, Hyundai Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have said E15 damage might void warranties according to AAA.

The EPA under Director Lisa Jackson has shown a tendency to barrel ahead with whatever they want to do, and never mind the consequences. Which has meant an unusual number of court appearances and court  slap-downs. Cut their budget drastically to keep them out of trouble.




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