by Peter Roff
It did not exactly come as a surprise when the Obama administration announced that it was pushing the decision regarding whether or not to go ahead with the Keystone XL pipeline off again. Politically, it’s a difficult issue, one that splits the left-liberal coalition that put him in the White House.
On one side are the so-called environmental groups who are opposed to keeping fossil fuels in the American energy mix. They think the completion of the pipeline, which will take oil from the Canadian tar sands south to the refineries located on the American Gulf Coast, will only add to the problems they have already imagined the productivity of mankind has created. On the other are congressional Democrats, private sector unions and energy company executives who also helped Obama come to power and who want the oil and the jobs the pipeline will bring. Continue reading
The White House held a “Solar Summit” Thursday, continuing to promote subsidies for solar panels just days after a new nonpartisan government report showed restrictions of drilling on federal lands.
The Energy Department announced another $15 million in “solar market pathways” to fund local governments’ use of solar energy. Further, the administration announced at the summit plans for a “Capital Solar Challenge,” directing federal agencies, military bases and other federally subsidized buildings to use solar power. Continue reading
by Peter Huessy
Russian President Vladimir Putin annexes the Crimea in gross violation of international law. What should America do, if anything?
There are many different ideas. Some suggest doing nothing. Some assert we cannot do anything. Others feel the consequences of letting such aggression stand will be serious.
The country’s divisions are certainly reflective of how divided on this Americans are.
What then is the proper role for America in the world that both keeps us safe and enhances our prosperity? Continue reading
by William Tucker
On Wednesday, the New York Times published a very nice account of a speech President Vladimir Putin gave to a group of the Russian elite in the Grand Kremlin Palace. Reported by on-the-scene correspondents, it was free of the usual filtering that takes place in Washington or most of the country’s newsrooms:
In an emotional address steeped in years of resentment and bitterness at perceived slights from the West, Mr. Putin made it clear that Russia’s patience for post-Cold War accommodation, much diminished of late, had finally been exhausted. Speaking to the country’s political elite in the Grand Kremlin Palace, he said he did not seek to divide Ukraine any further, but he vowed to protect Russia’s interests there from what he described as Western actions that had left Russia feeling cornered.
This isn’t exactly the picture John Kerry and Angela Merkel are giving us. According to them, President Putin is “in another world, “behaving in 19th century fashion,” “completely isolated” and “has a huge price to pay.” Close your eyes, however, and you are listening to Hitler lamenting the humiliations visited upon Germany by the Versailles Treaty. They said the same thing about him. You know what happened next. Continue reading
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough discussed with NBC News’ David Gregory the administration’s foot-dragging on the Keystone XL pipeline. The Sunday interview came in the wake of the State Department’s latest report on the project, which again found no good reason to block construction of an oil pipeline from western Canada to Steele City, Neb.
The chat produced this rich quote from Mr. McDonough on President Barack Obama’s refusal to approve the privately funded project thus far: “He’s been very clear that he’s going to insulate this process from politics.”
But politics are indeed driving the president’s Keystone inaction, thanks largely to climate change and environmental alarmists. How else to explain the more than five-year wait for approval of the Keystone pipeline, a project that requires no tax money, is shovel ready and loaded with good-paying jobs? The State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, released Jan. 31, concludes: “During construction, proposed Project spending would support approximately 42,100 jobs (direct, indirect, and induced), and approximately $2 billion in earnings throughout the United States.” Continue reading
“When American jobs and livelihoods depend on getting something done,” senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said, “he will not wait for Congress.” Other members of Obama’s camp used similar language during appearances on Sunday’s talk shows.
By “Congress,” the president means Republicans, particularly in the House, who have not been keen on his progressive agenda. Obama laid out big plans during this speech a year ago, following his re-election, but things like stricter gun control and immigration reform ended up on high center. Continue reading
by CJ Ciaramella
Emails between the Sierra Club and the EPA produced through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit show the green group and senior officials at the nation’s top environmental enforcer met and corresponded frequently about the agency’s work on new coal regulations.
The EPA published its long-awaited New Source Performance Standards for new coal-fired plants on Wednesday, four months after the agency announced their creation.
The EPA has repeatedly said the regulations on coal-fired power plants will not be a death blow to the industry. However, the agency was working closely behind the scenes with the Sierra Club, an environmental organization that was pushing the agency to adopt standards that would be impossible for power plants to meet. Continue reading
by George Landrith
It is said that those who respect the law and enjoy sausage, should not see how either are made. Too often the farm bill is exhibit A for this adage. Too often such bills include a little something for everyone, or a lot of taxpayer cash for a privileged few. Such legislation picks the pocket of the taxpayer, and distorts the marketplace.
Part of the farm bill is invariably an energy provision which again all too often is simply a grab bag of taxpayer provided cash for energy or chemical projects that managed to lobby hard for the taxpayer-provided benefits. But it is doubtful that such programs actually benefit the nation as a whole. The Senate’s version of the farm bill is sadly yet another Exhibit A in wasteful spending and its energy provisions are simply more of the same.
The bipartisan House farm bill is different from the usual farm bill. It isn’t perfect, but it is a big step in the right direction. Continue reading
Deception: There he goes again. The president is taking credit for an economic recovery that isn’t happening and a surge in oil production he’s had nothing to do with. If he can’t be honest, it’s up to us to set the record straight.
While touring an Ohio steel mill Thursday, President Obama talked about jobs and the economy bouncing back.
He prattled on about factories “reopening their doors” and businesses “hiring new workers.” He even went so far as to imply that his administration has “been trying” to “rebuild a new foundation for growth and prosperity to protect ourselves from future crises.”
Meanwhile, in the real world, the U.S. economy continues to struggle under his watch. Continue reading
A bright spot in the U.S.’s sluggish economic recovery has been historic growth in North American energy production, courtesy of oil and natural gas from shale and Canadian crude from oil sands. The boom has not only reduced American dependence on foreign oil but has encouraged “insourcing,” the return of manufacturing to the U.S., as employers take advantage of low energy costs.
Infrastructure growth is crucial to sustaining this manufacturing resurgence, and government must do its part. Yet as energy discoveries have transformed U.S. oil production, the pipeline and road infrastructure needed to bring petroleum to market are groaning under government negligence, slowing growth in the U.S. and Michigan. Continue reading
Gas prices are significantly higher and likely to go higher still, which could make this the most expensive summer at the pump in five years.
The average price is now $3.67, and Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for GasBuddy.com, predicts there’s at least a 50% chance gas could top the $3.79 a gallon high for the year reached in February.
The rise in crude oil prices is one of the major factors in the recent gas price run-up, since oil prices end up being passed onto consumers. And while retail gas prices have risen quickly, they haven’t kept pace with wholesale prices on the commodities markets — meaning it’s virtually certain you’ll pay more at the pump, and soon.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s driving the recent gas spike, and what drivers should be worried about later this summer: Continue reading
CBS News – A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, the Department of Energy told The Associated Press.
After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water, geologist Richard Hammack said.
Although the results are preliminary — the study is still ongoing — they are a boost to a natural gas industry that has fought complaints from environmental groups and property owners who call fracking dangerous. Continue reading
President Obama’s call for the EPA to impose new regulations on coal-fired power plants was a giveaway to the environmental lobby at the expense of the American worker. By crusading against coal, Obama is willfully hurting the very working-class Americans around whom he structured his reelection campaign and endangering the economic recovery he continues to promise.
Coal is mined in 25 states and is responsible for over 550,000 American jobs, most of them blue-collar. It’s also the cheapest source of electricity available — 22 of the 25 power plants with the lowest operating costs in the U.S. are fueled by coal — which is a major reason why Americans enjoy some of the lowest electricity costs of any free-market economy. Continue reading
Regulation: No longer the stuff of science fiction, a little-noticed change in energy-efficiency requirements for appliances could lead to government controlling the power used in your home and how you set your thermostat.
In a seemingly innocuous revision of its Energy Star efficiency requirements announced June 27, the Environmental Protection Agency included an “optional” requirement for a “smart-grid” connection for customers to electronically connect their refrigerators or freezers with a utility provider.
The feature lets the utility provider regulate the appliances’ power consumption, “including curtailing operations during more expensive peak-demand times.” Continue reading