American Elephants

A $300,000 Climate Change Museum? by The Elephant's Child

In the final days of his administration, the former president oversaw the creation of a $300,000 “climate museum” in a government building in Washington D.C. (Paid for with taxpayer dollars), dedicated to the proposition that man-made climate change is a dire threat, and the wonderful work done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its voluminous files of regulation are absolutely necessary to keep us safe from disaster, or the Statue of Liberty sinking beneath the waves again.

The $300,000 price tag represented $211,111 for the Smithsonian Institution to create the materials shown in the museum and $134,000 to renovate the space. The content was created by the EPA Alumni Association, which compiled it and presented a timeline detailing the milestones of the regulatory agency since it was founded in 1970. Gosh. Do all federal agencies get a museum to extol their legacy? Seems a bit pricey for self-glorification.

According to the Washington Post, I find that it was a “pet project” of former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, and is “tucked into” the lobby of the EPA Credit Union in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. It not only documents all the countless regulations that affect our daily lives, like the ethanol-enhanced gas we put in our cars, our useless new twisty light bulbs, to how we heat and cool our homes. And affects as well the design of our cars and their price, as well as the design and cost of our household appliances. They have not yet succeeded in getting centralized control of our  household energy. but they are working on it. The “museum” embodies the ideology of Obama and his EPA.  President Trump is using executive orders to undo many of the most toxic regulations, with more to come.

I would be surprised if the “museum” contains information on many of the regulations that the courts threw out, or for example, the massive yellow toxic spill of mine waste from the Gold King mine into the Animas River in Colorado which flowed into the San Juan River in New Mexico, and then the Colorado River in Utah, the Grand Canyon and became the water supply for drought-stricken California. The Navajo Nation sued the EPA, but the last I read indicated that the EPA had not paid up. I’d bet this picture is not included in the exhibit either.

Here’s an excellent example of the EPA and how they worked under administrator Gina McCarthy. The Sacketts case went to the Supreme Court, where it was overturned unanimously by the court. Andy Johnson, a welder in Wyoming built a small livestock pond on his property that was approved by the state authorities. That one was an EPA attempt to claim jurisdiction over all the “navigable waters” of the United States—or anything that eventually flows into the ocean that originally comes from a drip from your downspouts.

But I’ll bet there’s lots about how the EPA protected America’s children from the ravages of asthma. Asthma was a favorite cause of Ms. McCarthy, because doctors don’t know what causes asthma which makes it a convenient cause. The goal of the Left is not saving the environment, but control, and the  EPA was just one more tool in their crusade.  Just as the Left’s crusade for Sanctuary Cities, and open borders is another reach for control by increasing the numbers of people in the states that Democrats control or are close to controlling. Illegals are counted in the census, and thus affect the numbers of representatives in Congress that the state gets. The Left may not be well-informed about history or the inestimable worth of our Constitution (which they would love to amend significantly) but they are fully aware of all opportunities for advancing their statist cause.

Administrator Scott Pruitt is on the case, and working steadily to limit the EPA to its basic task of clean air and clean water, and he has the full approval of President Trump, who by executive order is undoing the things that Pruitt can’t do himself.


More Regulation From the EPA That Accomplishes 0.0026 Degrees of Warming, if It Doesn’t Continue Cooling by The Elephant's Child
June 21, 2015, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Energy, Global Warming, Junk Science, Regulation | Tags: , , ,


The EPA is rolling out new emissions regulations  for big rig trucks to help the United States to meet its goal of reducing CO² to fight global warming. The EPA, with its usual hubris, claims limiting carbon dioxide emissions from heavy trucks will reduce CO² by more than one billion metric tons by 2050. Reducing carbon will create up to $34 billion in “climate benefits” along with up to $40 billion from reducing traditional pollutants. Regulating heavy trucks is part of Obama’s goal of reducing CO² emissions by 80 percent.  (Typical EPA — what are “climate benefits?” And the $34 billion is probably made up. At least she left out the Asthma excuse)

Another case of overblown claims and bad math. The EPA’s own analysis found that by 2100 “the global mean temperature is projected to be reduced by approximately 0.0026° to 0.0065°. Unfortunately, we have found that projecting what the weather will be by next weekend is only occasionally correct, and projecting it out 85 years is pure fantasy. Prognosticators have tried to project our knowledge about climate, the stock market, inflation, housing costs, and the state of the world into the future, but that is territory for charlatans and carnival brokers. We simply don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and the world is full of surprises.

“We’re delivering big time on President Obama’s call to cut carbon pollution,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “With emission reductions weighing in at 1 billion tons, this proposal will save consumers, businesses and truck owners money; and at the same time spur technology innovation and job-growth, while protecting Americans’ health and our environment over the long haul.”

The rule is coupled with increased fuel economy standards from the Transportation Department which are expected to save vehicle owners $170 billion, along billions more in savings for  families and businesses from cheaper transportation in the coming decades.

The Obama administration’s plan calls for an 80 percent reduction in CO² output by 2100. Would an 80 percent reduction have a big impact? Well. no, not much. The EPA’s own analysis found that by 2100 “the global mean temperature is projected to be reduced by approximately 0.0026º C. If the climate keeps cooling, all bets are off.

(I had duplicated the same paragraph here— brain freeze, now fixed)

EPA Administrator McCarthy Doesn’t Read Her Press Notices. by The Elephant's Child
June 12, 2015, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy | Tags: , ,


Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy delivered a warning to Americans who do not place environmental stewardship above everything else. Echoes, apparently of President Obama’s directive to graduating Coast Guard Cadets that our most important national security challenge is global warming.

“If you are selling to somebody a product, and you can assure them that that product was produced in the most environmentally responsible way, I will guarantee you that they will value that product more highly,” McCarthy said at the 2015 GreenGov symposium at George Washington University in Washington.

“I can guarantee you because if they don’t, I’m going to knock on their door and I’m going to tell them why they are mistaken,” McCarthy said, pointing at the audience.

“That is how government works — we tell you what you can do today. We give you the flexibility to get it done yourself and we send a long-term market signal that is going to open up innovation moving forward.”

You will not be surprised to hear that she defended the EPA’s federal processes, rulemaking and purchases that they have made over the past decade in order to combat climate change. The power sector, she claimed, is adapting to lower carbon generation, and the government “underpins” investments made by utilities and businesses with rules to foster innovation. Uh huh. Please explain how drastic regulations unnecessarily shutting down coal-fired power plants and putting thousands of employees out of work “fosters innovation.” Administrator McCarthy is clearly a true believer in the heavy hand of government. Unfortunately, the people are not. They don’t believe in global warming either.

According to an op-ed by Paul C.Light, a professor at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, trust in the federal government has slumped to near-record lows, moving far beyond healthy skepticism toward a crisis of confidence.

A Pew Research Poll in 2010 found that 74% of Americans rated the federal bureaucracy as only fair or poor in running its programs. In another Pew Poll in January 2014, 75% of the American people said they trusted the federal government to do what is right “only some of the time” or “never.” In a September 2014 Gallup poll, Americans estimated that Washington wastes 51 cents of every dollar it spends. Ms. McCarthy isn’t reading her press notices.

The stakes of comprehensive reform are high. A new president serious about reform could take immediate action by executive order to collect the $700 billion already on the books in unpaid taxes, delinquent debts, and improper payments to individuals and government contractors. These numbers are estimates of the federal government’s own agencies.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee says there is $14 trillion that could be saved from the federal budget.

How? By cutting the federal workforce 10% and the contract workforce 15%, modernizing the government’s antiquated information technology, creating public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects, selling off unneeded federal properties, streamlining the bloated Department of Homeland Security, and even reducing federal advertising by half.

A survey last July by Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Institutions of Democracy showed that half of Americans favored cutting back federal programs to reduce the power of government. The other half said programs should be maintained to deal with important problems, But more than half said government had the wrong priorities, while the remainder said it has the right priorities but a broken bureaucracy.

The day before Memorial Day, the Obama administration released its list of regulations in the pipeline for the coming year. $110 billion in new regulations.

The problem is that when regulators get busy, the economy tends to fall into a torpor. Particularly when the rules and mandates they’re getting ready to unleash are as sweeping and costly as these.

Batkins found the rules scheduled for August, October and all the other months over the next year will impose costs of $110 billion — based on the agencies’ own estimates. And that number doesn’t include estimates for the EPA’s new efficiency standards for trucks — the previous one cost $8 billion — “or the dozens of other major rules without a public cost-benefit.”

Just this week, the EPA added to the coming pile, saying it wants to regulate commercial airline emissions.

The EPA is already responsible for the two costliest rules planned for this year. Its greenhouse gas emission standards for existing power plants will run $21.7 billion, and new smog standards will cost $15 billion.

Coming are new regulations like the $7.1 billion efficiency standards for dishwashers, and $12.3 billion for CO² emission standards on gas furnaces, and even revised nutrition labels that no one will read for $2 billion. The efforts to reduce CO² will have an effect on the atmosphere too small to be measured, but the existing mountain of federal regulations imposes almost $1.9 trillion in compliance costs, according to CEI. If you wonder why the economy is still sluggish after seven long years — there you go.

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.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan Must Be Defeated! by The Elephant's Child
May 15, 2015, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

Superior-ice-5-31-2014-Lake-Superior-PhotoThe Environmental Protection Agency has sent its power-plant rules for final White House review. Known by the euphemistic name “the Clean Power Plan,” the rules are at the center of President Obama’s agenda to address the threat of global climate change. There is understandably fierce opposition to this administration’s climate strategy, and lawsuits have been filed, but judges were skeptical to the idea that they could offer regulatory relief to the states before the rules have been made final. If the Plan is finalized, lawsuits will follow.

EPA’s plan would shut down coal energy in this country—under the misconception that “carbon pollution” is a hazard of some sort. Coal-fired power plants produce around 40% of our electricity that powers factories, hospitals, schools, water treatment plants and homes. In some areas there is no replacement source of energy.

Proponents argue that the Clean Power Plan would result in enormous health benefits by reducing greenhouse gases. The idea that carbon is a pollutant stems from ignorance of high school biology, and started with the observation that the amount of carbon in the atmosphere was increasing at the same time the temperature was increasing. Obviously cause and effect. Except that temperatures stopped going up a little over eighteen years ago, and the amount of carbon in the atmosphere just kept on climbing. And of course the idea that carbon dioxide is a natural fertilizer and helps plants to grow, that a doubling of the amount of CO² in the atmosphere would be a great good, and not begin to reach the optimum, is usually overlooked.

Proponents assume that we can just fill in with wind and solar, but wind turbines mostly stop working in cold weather, and solar cells don’t work if the sun isn’t shining —both technologies require full-time backup from a conventional power plant, often coal. $150 billion invested in “renewable” energy and it is still an undependable minor source.

The sun has gone through an unusually long quiet spell, and scientists are beginning to think that we urgently need to prepare for another ice age, or perhaps a little ice age. Congress has demanded that the EPA produce the science which supposedly backs up the regulations that flow so voluminously from their agency, but so far they have stalled, avoided, excused, and somehow  been unable to find that particular bit of science.

The thing is that cold weather kills. New England had a particularly heavy winter this last year, stocks of firewood ran out, unbuilt pipelines did not supply natural gas, closed coal-fired plants did not produce electricity. Shutting down coal-fired power plants to sap the demands of environmental loonies will, at some point, leave a lot of people to freeze in the cold.

We had a light winter, no skiing, light snowpack. Our governor has just declared a water emergency, with an eye on California, though we have plenty of rain. Another year we may have a heavy winter. Contrary to the predictions of the climate computer models, we cannot yet predict the future, only make intelligent guesses, and hope we do as well as the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

EPA Using Clean Water Act to Seize More Power by The Elephant's Child

Congress has increasingly become sloppy in creating legislation. They have often left the finer details for the bureaucrats in America’s vast regulatory enterprise to devise. Laws that do not carefully spell out the limits of legislation come back to haunt the country when agencies use their very vagueness to grasp for more regulatory power.

The Clean Air Act of 1970 and the 1972 Clean Water Act are two of the prime examples. The Environmental Protection Agency, staffed with green activists, is unrestrained in its grasp for ever more control over America and Americans.

Back in the early 70s, the smog in Los Angeles lay like a thick yellow-brown blanket smothering the fabled orange groves of the Golden State. Sewer outfalls emptied into rivers and lakes, and the Cuyahoga River caught fire. Americans wanted clean air and clean water. The efforts to clean up produced catalytic converters, sewage treatment plants and air-quality monitoring, and the efforts worked.  Both our air and our water are remarkably clean.

The EPA is attempting to unnecessarily regulate ever-finer particulates in the air, and even dust on the farm.  Now they are going after the water.

The 1972 Clean Water Act was originally intended to protect the “navigable waters of the United States.”  “Navigable” means that boats can go there. It was broadly interpreted to mean any pool of water in America capable of supporting a toy boat. The act’s scope was expanded to the point that water remaining after a rainstorm became a “wetland” requiring environmental protection.

In 2006, a U.S. Supreme Court case from Michigan produced five different opinions and no clear definition of which waterways were covered and which were not.  This left the government with a clean slate to write its own interpretation — everything they wanted to regulate. And their expansive view is breathtaking in its grasping nature.

The EPA recently revoked the coal mining permit for Arch Coal’s Spruce Mine No. 1 in Logan County, W. Va. The permit was issued four years ago, and Arch Coal has, since then followed every word of the rules it was told to operate under. Arch Coal provides 16% of America’s supply, and they have invested $250 million in the mountain-top mining operation which when fully operational would have employed 215 miners and 300 support jobs.

The EPA said it was operating under the authority of the Clean Water Act. They said the mine employed “destructive and unsustainable mining practices that jeopardize the health of Appalachian communities and clean water on which the depend.  The EPA is currently suspending 79 such surface mining permits in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.  It says these permits could violate the Clean Water Act and warrant “enhanced” review.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says she’s not against coal mining, but wants to see it “done in a way that minimizes impact to water quality.” Sure she does. Her boss said, even back when he was campaigning, that he intended to bankrupt the coal industry.

This isn’t about clean water. Cap-and-trade was not about climate change. Regulation of fine particulates is not about clean air. This is about increasing government power over every aspect of our lives.

Where does it stop?  They want ever more control. Why?  Why are they trying to drive up the price of gas?  Why are they trying to shut down every source of energy in favor of the ones that simply do not work?  Why are they trying to confiscate public lands?  Why are they so invested in control of our personal lives?  Why do they want control of our ponds, ditches, rain puddles and water fixtures?  Waterfront property may become a liability instead of an enhancement.

Obama to Make Food Prices Skyrocket! by American Elephant

Not content with the devastating price-hikes and world-wide food shortages that “progressive” ethanol mandates and subsidies have caused, Obama is now moving to drive food prices up even more by slapping onerous new regulations on the amount of dust farmers can stir up:

OKLAHOMA CITY — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering a crackdown on farm dust, so senators have signed a letter addressing their concerns on the possible regulations.

The letter dated July 23 to the EPA states, “If approved, would establish the most stringent and unparalleled regulation of dust in our nation’s history.” It further states, “We respect efforts for a clean and healthy environment, but not at the expense of common sense. These identified levels will be extremely burdensome for farmers and livestock producers to attain. Whether its livestock kicking up dust, soybeans being combined on a dry day in the fall, or driving a car down the gravel road, dust is a naturally occurring event.” [more]

And of course there is no reasonable need nor any realistic scientific justification for the regulation whatsoever, it is just power-mad fascist control-freaks determined to dictate every facet of life possible. Someone ought to tell President Brainiac that dust is what happens when you work in DIRT. And that measures to control what is a natural by-product of farming would be very costly, and those costs would be passed on to you and me in the form of yet higher food prices. The poor and minorities hardest hit.

Can we finally be done with the ridiculous canard that liberals care more about the poor? Liberalism devastates the poor and makes certain they will stay poor and dependent on government. It truly is evil.

A Power Grab Over Troubled Waters. by The Elephant's Child

Imagine this:  Representative James Oberstar (D-Mich.) wants to rewrite the Clean Water Act.  Back in 1972, when the law was written, even liberals respected the Constitution. They understood if you wanted the federal government to regulate the waters, you had to say “navigable”so that it was legal under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

Representative Oberstar wants to remove the word “navigable”. How do you then explain why the federal government should regulate waters that are not navigable?  And what are waters that are not navigable — mud puddles, prairie potholes, irrigation ditches, intermittent ponds?  Or bathtubs, fish ponds, fountains, on private lands — neighborhood backyards?

This isn’t the first time Oberstar has tried this.  He tried it in 2007.  He and others were not happy with Supreme Court rulings that defined the limits Washington faced over bodies of water that had no relation to navigability or commerce.   They want full federal control over all waters. Richard Baker, then a Republican congressman from Louisiana, a state filled with waterways, called the bill “the largest-ever expansion of federal power over private property.

The federal government has already deeply damaged Central Valley farmers in California by denying them water because of an “endangered” minnow — the Delta smelt.  Unemployment in the Central Valley is high in the double digits, and orchards and vines are dying for lack of water.  Is the Delta smelt really endangered?

Farmers should be particularly concerned.  Oberstar’s bill gives federal regulators the power to police farming practices and to take their land through regulatory restrictions if those practices are deemed to be in violation of the law. There is even a clause that adds “and the land that impacts it” so it could regulate everything around it.

This is a drive by the Environmental Protection Agency to expand its jurisdiction.  Most of the justification for the existence of the agency is becoming questionable.  The air is very clean, in general, so the EPA is attempting to find possible bad effects on health from, um,  particulates, anything, that can be regulated under the Clean Air Act.  They’re not done with CO2, but the case for controlling that is becoming questionable.  So we have a grasp for power that is sanctioned at the highest level.

Liberals understand that they have a brief window in ’09 and ’10 — they are trying to get as much enacted as possible before the November elections. They need to be stopped.

Another $1.4 Million EPA Bad Idea. by The Elephant's Child
April 21, 2010, 5:59 pm
Filed under: Environment, Health Care, Law, Taxes | Tags: , ,

This is going to seem really boring, but stick with me.  There is method in my madness.  Ken Green, who is a scholar at AEI specializing in energy and environment, offers a quick definition from Wikipedia:

Data dredging, according to Wikipedia, is “the inappropriate (sometimes deliberately so) use of data mining to uncover misleading relationships in data. These relationships may be valid within the test set but have no statistical significance in the wider population.” Wikipedia gives a particularly relevant example: “Suppose that observers note that a particular town appears to be a cancer cluster, but lack a firm hypothesis of why this is so. However, they have access to a large amount of demographic data about the town and surrounding area, containing measurements for the area of hundreds or thousands of different variables, mostly uncorrelated. Even if all these variables are independent of the cancer incidence rate, it is highly likely that at least one variable will be significantly correlated with the cancer rate across the area.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2).  It looks like cap-and-trade will not make it through the Senate, so the next best idea is regulating — and taxing — CO2, under the Clean Air Act, as a “pollutant.” As CO2 is what we exhale, it’s going to take some heavy evidence to get away with that.  Particularly since Climategate has pretty much put a damper on the whole global warming thing.  Congress never intended the Clean Air Act for any such thing, but Obama wants a carbon tax.  So the EPA proposes to give away $1.4 million in up to $300,000 portions to fund directional data dredging that looks only for relationships that suggest that exposure to various air pollutants cause harm to human health.  The polite term for this is “fishing expedition.”

EPA, ever helpful, gives some examples of what such data-dredging exercises might look like.  Air pollution associations with respiratory and cardiovascular disease have been studied extensively, but there might be some “air pollution impacts” on additional health conditions including diabetes, neurological disorders, tooth decay, brain tumors, zits, (Okay, I made up the last three, but surely you see the problems).

While data dredging can identify some correlations, it cannot identify causation.  It’s one thing for scientists to identify illness in a population, and to investigate what it is that might be causing it, but this is “Seek and ye shall find,” looking for ever more obscure health impacts to justify expanded regulation and EPA intrusion into the economy.   This funding proposal should be scrapped.

And the EPA should be scrapped while they’re at it.  (But I said that before).

We’re Only Late by 26 Years! by The Elephant's Child
April 20, 2010, 7:00 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, Law, Statism | Tags: , ,


The Ministry of Truth Environmental Protection Agency is promoting a contest.

The contest, which ends May 17, will award $2,500 to the makers of the video that best explains why federal regulations are good and how ordinary citizens can become more involved in making regulations.  The videos must be posted on YouTube and can be no more than 60-90 seconds in length.

In the current contest, each video must include the slogan “Let your voice be heard,” and it must direct viewers to the government’s regulatory website  The winning video will then be used by the entire federal government to promote the regulatory process and enhance the public’s participation in it.

The EPA is managing the contest, part of the government”s eRulemaking program, on behalf of the entire government.

Did I mention that it is my belief that the Environmental Protection Agency has done little to nothing for the environment, a great deal of damage to our country, and should be abolished?

More Challenges to the Federal Government and the EPA. by The Elephant's Child

The House of Cards begins to fall.  Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, with the support of new Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, has filed a petition with the EPA to reconsider its finding based on the acknowledgment of ClimateGate’s former CRU Director Phil Jones, to be very unsettled science indeed.

He has at the same time filed a petition with the Federal Appeals court requesting a review of the EPA finding.

The Richmond Times Dispatch clucked that “A commission appointed by previous Governor Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, found that global warming could spread disease in Virginia, threaten coastal areas and imperil native animals such as crabs.”

The panel, which included scientists, business people, lawmakers and environmentalists, unanimously adopted its final report in 2008.

The Director of the Virginia State Sierra Club, Glen Besa was horrified:

The attorney general is wasting taxpayer’s money on frivolous litigation…In effect, he’s questioning climate change.

Well, yes.  In the last five months it has become increasingly clear that climate change is a fraud. The Earth is cooling, not warming, and there has been no significant warming for the last 15 years.

The IPCC has been exposed as a political organization, in error about every aspect of climate science.  Carbon Dioxide, which is one of the basic building blocks of life, (no CO2 no life) is not a pollutant, and attempts to regulate it as such, are strictly political and have no basis in science.

Obama Puts Politics Before Science by American Elephant
June 30, 2009, 5:28 am
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, News, Politics | Tags: ,

The EPA under Obama has moved to silence scientists in the rush to push their political agenda. The EPA has blocked a scientific report from one of their own scientists which pointed out that information the agency is using is out of date and contradicted by newer data. The report was ignored and the scientist aggressively muzzled.

Senator Inhofe has ordered an investigation into this outrageous politicization of science by the Obama administration.

Why do liberals hate science so much?

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