Friday, October 15, 2010

Inhofe: EPAs E-15 Action Confirms Flaws In Fuel Mandate

Sen. Inhofe made the following statement Wednesday on EPA's decision to issue a waiver allowing gasoline to contain up to 15 percent ethanol (also known as E-15) for model year 2007 and newer cars and light trucks, while denying E-15 for model year 2000 and older cars and light trucks. 

Link to Inhofe Consumer Choice Ethanol Bill

Link to Inhofe EPW News Roundup on E-15

Also see: Tulsa World: Inhofe rips EPA's approval of increased ethanol use

“EPA’s decision today on E-15 is confirmation of what we’ve known for some time: the fuels mandate in the 2007 energy law contained serious flaws, which Congress should now address with new legislation,” Sen. Inhofe said. “Aside from that, EPA’s action has very little practical impact on consumers or the fuels market.  That’s because very few of the nation’s retailers will actually sell E-15 anytime in the foreseeable future. The reasons are straightforward: substantial fuel tank and dispensing infrastructure costs, as well as liability issues associated with misfueling and potential engine damage.

“Congress must act to address the corn-based ethanol blend wall, as well as other related problems with the 2007 energy bill.  With passage of that bill, Congress doubled the corn-based ethanol mandate despite mounting questions about ethanol’s compatibility with existing engines, its transportation and infrastructure needs, its economic sustainability, and environmental issues. 

“I will continue to push my legislation that allows states to opt-out of the corn-based ethanol component of the renewable fuels mandate.  This would allow markets to supply consumers with the fuels they prefer for their cars and trucks.” 

Obamas Interior Dept. Decision in the Gulf Puts Symbolism over Substance

Sen. Inhofe Tuesday issued the following statement in reaction to the Interior Department’s announcement on the Obama Administration’s deepwater drilling moratorium.

Also See: WSJ Editorial: Liberating the Gulf

“The bottom line from today’s announcement by President Obama’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) is clear: Jobs and energy security remain at risk,” Sen. Inhofe said. “BOEMRE’s decision provides no clarity to those concerned about the Obama Administration’s new de facto moratorium on offshore domestic energy production.  Domestic energy producers, and the tens of thousands of people they employ, face a regulatory landscape marred by uncertainty and a clear bias against expanding America’s oil and natural gas production. 

“We must ensure that the highest safety and environmental protections are necessary components of offshore production.  Such requirements, moreover, should be balanced with considerations for more jobs, more energy security, and more economic growth.  The Administration’s actions lack that balance. 

“I and many others will be conducting proper oversight in the coming months to monitor how the Administration is implementing its new regulations.  It should be held accountable for how taxpayer dollars are being spent and how its actions are affecting safety, the environment, jobs, and the economy."  

Obamas Confusion on Infrastructure

In a New York Times blog post, previewing a Sunday Times interview with President Obama about lessons learned in his first two years in office, an interesting quote stands out: the President now believes, “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.”

How things change.  Indeed, how can one forget the mantra of 2009, when President Obama routinely touted “shovel-ready” projects to sell his stimulus bill (check out this Washington Post article from January 2009). 

We look forward to reading the entire Times article on Sunday, but for now, it seems the President can’t quite get a handle on what to do about infrastructure.  On Labor Day, the President rolled out a new $50 billion infrastructure policy.  But it was an unserious proposal, flawed in many respects, as members of his party clearly understood.  Consider the following from National Journal

In a sign that Democrats are not on-board with what was supposed to be a major cornerstone of their platform this fall, an increasing number of Democratic incumbents and candidates are criticizing Pres. Obama's economic plan. Within 24 hours of Obama's major address in Ohio on Thursday, a Democratic senator, three House Democrats and another two Democrats vying for open House seats all distanced themselves from Obama's economic plan.

President Obama had an opportunity to sign a real stimulus bill—one focused on infrastructure—but Democratic leaders in the Senate, presumably with his acquiescence, killed two bipartisan amendments, cosponsored by Sen. Inhofe, to support more infrastructure during the stimulus debate.  One amendment would have increased highway investment in the bill by $5.5 billion; another would have redirected $50 billion toward infrastructure. 

As Sen. Inhofe explained at the time, “I believe it is our duty in this stimulus bill to create as many jobs as quickly as possible.  It’s not just the funding that is important, but how quickly we are able to stimulate the economy with the money in these programs.” 

Sen. Inhofe ultimately voted against the stimulus bill, on grounds that it contained too little funding for transportation and infrastructure and too much for wasteful big government programs:

Democrats must be held accountable for the lack of infrastructure spending in this massive government spending bill. Despite originally being sold as an infrastructure bill, the fact is this bill contains less than 7% for infrastructure in the entire bill. Furthermore, despite all the references to money going to shovel-ready highway and bridge projects, investment in highways comprises only 3% of the package. Through my leadership position on the Environment and Public Works Committee and Armed Services Committee, I know firsthand the link between infrastructure and defense spending, job creation, and a robust economy. Despite reaching across the aisle to propose amendments to strip wasteful spending and replace it with legitimate, job-creating provisions, the Democratic majority clung to their chosen priorities. Inhofe Press Release (2/10/09) 

President Obama should listen to Gov. Ed Rendell (D) of Pennsylvania, who penned an editorial with Sen. Inhofe about the benefits of moving a federal highway bill.  As they wrote in July:

It is time for Republicans and Democrats to work together to get America moving again. We are committed to joining our colleagues - in Congress and in the states - to provide the level of investment necessary to deliver the infrastructure that Americans need and deserve.  Inhofe-Rendell Op-Ed (7/19/10) 

One hopes the President has worked through his confusion about infrastructure investment.  He can join Republicans and Democrats to pass fiscally sound highway and water infrastructure bills that can create jobs and grow the economy.  Clinging to his failed stimulus bill won’t do him or the country any good.  

Inhofe Op-Ed: Obamas EPA a Growing Menace to Economy

Human Events 

Obama's EPA a Growing Menace to Economy

by Sen. James Inhofe

Posted 10/13/2010 ET

Link to Op-Ed

Link to Senate Report 

As President Obama continues to search in vain for policies to create jobs, the prospects for a robust economic recovery remain bleak.  One reason for this is the regulatory uncertainty created by the Obama Administration.  Perhaps the agency contributing most to the uncertainty is Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

As I explain in a new report, titled "EPA's Anti-Industrial Policy: Threatening Jobs and America's Manufacturing Base," EPA's regulations are unrivaled in the harm they pose to America's economy.  The report focuses on four of EPA's most egregiously anti-business proposals and how they will cost jobs and undermine America's global competitiveness with China.

Consider EPA's policy to regulate industrial boilers.  It is so awful that 41 senators, including myself and 18 Democrats, sent a letter on September 27 to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, expressing opposition to it.  "As our nation struggles to recover from the current recession," the senators wrote, "we are deeply concerned that the pending Clean Air Act boiler MACT regulations could impose onerous burdens on U.S. manufacturers, leading to the loss of potentially thousands of high paying jobs this sector provides."

Employers all across the country have registered their concerns.  One such is Thilmany Papers, which employs 850 people in two specialty paper mills in Wisconsin.  "Our business, like many others," the company wrote recently, "encounters many challenges.  However, none threaten the continued existence of our business like the proposed boiler [rule]." 

The respected economic consultancy, IHS-Global Insight, concluded that EPA's boiler regulations threaten nearly 800,000 jobs.  The United Steel Workers Union (USW), which represents hundreds of thousands of workers, "in the most heavily-impacted industries, among them pulp & paper, steel, and rubber," has taken note.  The USW believes the proposal "will be sufficient to imperil the operating status of many industrial plants." The USW stated further that, "Tens of thousands of these jobs will be imperiled...many more tens of thousands of jobs in the supply chains and in the communities where these plants are located also will be at risk."

Pending Ozone Decision

Communities also face new regulatory burdens from EPA's pending ozone decision.  After the Bush EPA finalized the 2008 ozone standard, environmental pressure groups complained it wasn't stringent enough.  The incoming Obama EPA agreed, and is now considering lowering ozone to, in some areas, levels that are at or above what occurs naturally in the ambient air.

The economic impacts are sure to be disastrous.  Nearly 600 counties could be in "non-attainment," which entails, among other things, draconian new regulations to lower emissions, loss of industry and economic development, including plant closures and increased fuel and energy costs. 

Even Unions Upset

Unions for Jobs and the Environment (UJAE), an organization of 12 national and international labor unions, including the United Mine Workers, the Teamsters and the Sheet Metal Workers, thinks the ozone revision "would lead to significant job losses across the country during a period of high unemployment, due to the significant increase in the number of counties classified as nonattainment." 

Unions are concerned about this proposal because it would hurt most in the industrial heartland.  For example, in the Cincinnati-Dayton region, assuming an ozone standard of 70 ppb, production would decline by $14.8 billion, killing 91,700 jobs in 2030.  If EPA chooses 65 ppb, the costs in 2030 would nearly double, and 165,000 workers would lose their jobs.

But job loss is not something that troubles EPA.  For instance, if you work at a cement plant, beware:  EPA's new cement kiln regulation could shut down 18 plants, threatening 1,800 direct jobs and 9,000 indirect jobs.  According to an analysis of EPA's rule by King's College (London) Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, EPA could send 28 million tons of U.S. cement production offshore, mainly to China. 

EPA adds insult to injury with its endangerment finding for greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.  This finding, which was made after the Senate refused to pass Obama's cap-and-trade bill, will lead to onerous new regulations potentially covering over 6 million sources in the economy. 

Global-Warming Nonsense

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, EPA could be forced to regulate 260,000 office buildings; 150,000 warehouses; 92,000 health care facilities; 71,000 hotels and motels; 51,000 food service facilities; 37,000 churches and other places of worship, and 17,000 farms.  On top of this, EPA's global-warming regulations will catch aluminum production, ammonia production, cement, iron, steel, lime, petrochemical, phosphoric acid production, and pulp and paper manufacturing. 

So what's the net effect of these regulations on global warming?  EPA estimates that global mean temperature would be reduced by 0.006 to 0.0015 °C by 2100."  That's an amount so small it can't be measured by a ground-based thermometer.

Of course reducing global warming is not the point.  As my report shows, EPA's proposals have negligible environmental benefits.  Instead they are the vanguard of Obama anti-industrial policy agenda, which is pushing America's manufacturing base overseas.  If we want to create jobs and compete economically with China, India, and other developing economies, this agenda must be stopped.

EPW Policy Beat: Madison and Regulatory Uncertainty

With Congress on hiatus until the lame duck session, we searched for some perspective on the underlying causes of the lackluster economy.  It's clear that 9.6 percent unemployment and sluggish growth stem in good measure from the regulatory uncertainty emanating from Washington.  As we've documented elsewhere, one of the principal agencies driving the uncertainty is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-imposing intricate, costly rules and mandates, opaque and legally dubious in many instances, on businesses of all shapes and sizes in nearly every sector of the economy.  The danger this poses to job creation and economic recovery seems clear enough.  In our view, no one better articulates this danger than James Madison.  Were Madison alive today, having had a few days to study EPA's agenda, he would surely have been inspired to write much the same as he did in Federalist #62. 

As we head into the weekend, we leave you with Madison:

In another point of view, great injury results from an unstable government. The want of confidence in the public councils damps every useful undertaking, the success and profit of which may depend on a continuance of existing arrangements. What prudent merchant will hazard his fortunes in any new branch of commerce when he knows not but that his plans may be rendered unlawful before they can be executed? What farmer or manufacturer will lay himself out for the encouragement given to any particular cultivation or establishment, when he can have no assurance that his preparatory labors and advances will not render him a victim to an inconstant government? In a word, no great improvement or laudable enterprise can go forward which requires the auspices of a steady system of national policy.

Climate Crackup - Panel Agrees to Reform - Pachauri to Stay - Psuedo Scientific Fraud

"Climate Crackup" –  "Panel Agrees to Reform" – "Pachauri to Stay" – "Psuedo Scientific Fraud" 

Inhofe EPW News Roundup

The Washington Times: Climate Crackup  - Switching terminology from "global warming" to "climate change" to newly favored "global climatic disruption" was supposed to help revive the environmental left's plunging poll numbers. It hasn't worked. Nature has, inconveniently, failed to cooperate, with dire predictions of upcoming catastrophes falling flat. Desperation pervades a propaganda effort that has finally gone too far. The radical green movement is all about scaring the public into adopting unpopular policy initiatives, such as hefty taxes on important sources of energy and increased government direction of our lives through regulation. The Chicken Little strategy can work if the possibility of major disruptions such as a devastating Katrina-style hurricane push people into embracing protection from Washington. Unfortunately for the scaremongers, the disruptions just aren't happening.

Wall Street Journal: Pachauri to Stay  - The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will retain Rajendra Pachauri as its chairman, and it will make several procedural changes to try to prevent future mistakes in its widely watched climate-science reports, the group said Thursday. …The IPCC agreed to several recommendations from the council, including tighter policies to reflect scientific uncertainty in its reports and to ferret out and fix any errors in them, panel officials said. In particular, it will be more careful about ensuring that it lays out the evidence for any assertion it makes about the likelihood of any effect of climate change, said Chris Field, a U.S. scientist and a leader of the panel's 2014 report. In the past, he said, IPCC reports sometimes projected the likelihood of potential climate-change effects, such as melting glaciers, without enough evidence. "There were some weaknesses in the application," he said.

Reuters: U.N. Climate Panel Agrees to Reforms - The U.N. panel of climate scientists agreed on Thursday to change its practices in response to errors in a 2007 report, and its chairman, Rajendra Pachauri of India, dismissed suggestions he should step down. At an October 11-14 meeting in Busan, South Korea, the 130-nation panel agreed to tighten fact-checking in reports that help guide the world's climate and energy policies and to set up a "task force" to decide on wider reforms by mid-2011. The IPCC has been under fire after errors in its last report in 2007, led by a projection that global warming could melt all Himalayan glaciers by 2035 -- centuries before the worst-case thaw. The InterAcademy Council (IAC), grouping experts from national science academies, called on August 30 for "fundamental reform" of IPCC management and said panel leaders should serve only one six-year term, rather than the current maximum of two. IPCC: Pachauri Carries on - This week, delegates in Busan agreed to immediately implement some of the recommendations. The IPCC says it will therefore issue new guidelines on how to describe and characterize scientific uncertainties, on the use of ‘gray’ literature, and on handling errors in its reports. But a number of more far-reaching recommendations concerning the IPCC’s management and procedures will not be implemented so quickly.  The plenary agreed to form a task group to address the issue of whether the IPCC needs an executive director and whether the term of its chairman should be limited to one assessment. Pachauri, who has acted as the group’s chairman since 1999, will not be affected by the outcome as any new rules will only apply to future elections.

The Australian: Physicist Mocks Climate 'Scam'  - A SENIOR US professor has resigned in disgust from the American Physical Society. He joined a panel of sceptics to protest against what he said was the triumph of money over scientific integrity in climate change research. Harold Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said in his resignation letter to APS president Curtis Callan Jr that the "global warming scam" had "corrupted so many scientists and carried APS before it like a rogue wave". Professor Lewis, a member of APS for 67 years, said anyone who had the faintest doubt about his assessment should read the so-called climate-gate documents, which lay it bare. "This is not fun and games -- these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance," Professor Lewis said in his letter of resignation. He accused APS management of "gaming" the problem from the beginning to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims.

Las Vegas Review Journal: Global Warming: 'The Greatest and Most Successful Pseudo-Scientific Fraud'  - It comes from Harold Lewis, emeritus professor of physics at UC Santa Barbara. This is his resignation letter to Curtis G. Callan Jr., president of the American Physical Society. "It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist. "So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it.

Telegraph UK:  BBC Told to Ensure Balance on Climate Change - Last year one of its reporters, Paul Hudson, was criticised for not reporting on some of the highly controversial “Climategate” leaked emails from the University of East Anglia, even though he had been in possession of them for some time.  Climate change sceptics have also accused the BBC of not properly reporting “Glaciergate”, when a study from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) saying that glaciers would melt by 2035 was discredited.  But the BBC’s new editorial guidelines, published yesterday after an extensive consultation that considered over 1,600 submissions by members of the public, say expressly for the first time that scientific issues fall within the corporation’s obligation to be impartial.  “The BBC must be inclusive, consider the broad perspective, and ensure that the existence of a range of views is appropriately reflected,” said BBC trustee Alison Hastings.


Washington Independent: Climate Change Reporting and Bias - The British newspaper the Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that the BBC has adopted new editorial guidelines that expressly call for its reporters to be impartial on science issues, suggesting that the new rules are a response to criticism that the storied news agency was not giving adequate coverage to climate change skeptics. In the United States, there is no doubt that many Americans are skeptical of climate change. An Oct. 10 Rasmussen poll shows that while 59 percent of Americans see global warming as a “serious issue,” just 39 percent think climate change is caused by human activity. About 42 percent think global warming is caused by “long-term planetary trends” and 7 percent think other causes lead to climate change.


Washington Times: Time to Get Real about Climate Change  -  The "denier" label is simply an attempt to equate those of us who question political correctness on climate change to Holocaust deniers. It is trying to discredit a message by discrediting the messenger, a logical fallacy referred to as ad hominem - against the man. It's also irrational to put the questioning of forecasts of future events on a par with denying what has happened already. Climate activists claim there is a consensus among experts that humanity's CO2 emissions are causing a climate crisis. In reality, there has never been a reputable worldwide poll of the thousands of experts who study the causes of climate change. Assertions that the multitude of scientists who worked on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports agree that our CO2 emissions are taking us to a planetary crisis are unfounded. Climate data analyst John McLean of Melbourne, Australia, has demonstrated repeatedly that only a few dozen scientist participants in the IPCC process even commented on the issue.


Washington Post: Climate Talks Sputter - As the last round of preliminary talks for this year's United Nations climate talks wrapped up in Tianjin, China, this weekend, one thing is clear: The path toward a comprehensive climate pact remains as uncertain as ever. Environmentalists issued a slew of dire pronouncements over the last 24 hours, suggesting international negotiators will have to work harder if they want a meaningful outcome when representatives from more than 190 countries gather in Cancun in late November and early December.