Bipartisan group set to take Keystone decision out of Obama’s hands – Washington Times

Bipartisan group set to take Keystone decision out of Obama’s hands – Washington Times.

By Ben Wolfgang – The Washington Times

President Obama has often used executive authority to get around Congress — and he has promised to continue that approach in his second term.

But now a bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to turn the tables on the White House.

Late last week, Rep. Lee Terry, Nebraska Republican, introduced a bill to take approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline out of the president’s hands. The measure has the support of at least two Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The bill eliminates the need for a presidential permit and would officially green-light the 1,700-mile pipeline, designed to transport oil sands from Canada through the U.S. to refineries on the Gulf Coast. It also would create thousands of jobs in the process.

“The time is up. No more delays. It’s time to build the Keystone pipeline,” Mr. Terry said at a Capitol Hill news conference Friday.

The move comes on the heels of a similar proposal in the Senate. Sen. John Hoeven, North Dakota Republican, and Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, have put forth legislation to approve the project using Congress‘ authority under the Commerce Clause.

Other Democratic senators, including Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, are co-sponsoring the bill, as are a half-dozen Republican senators.

“The Keystone pipeline is the perfect opportunity to put Montanans, and folks across the country, to work right now,” Mr. Baucus said in a statement last week, after the measure was introduced. “American workers cannot afford to wait any longer for Keystone jobs, and there is absolutely no excuse for further delay.”

Of course, both pieces of legislation would need to be signed by the president whose powers it would strip. While it appears both bills could easily pass in their respective chambers, it’s unclear whether either could garner enough support to overcome a potential veto by Mr. Obama.

At the very least, the bills once again demonstrate the growing sense of frustration in Congress over the administration’s handling of the project.

Mr. Obama has continually put off a final decision on the pipeline, even in the face of growing pressure from lawmakers, the oil and gas industry and even the Canadian government, which has begun to make clear that it intends to do business with China and in other Asian markets if the U.S. refuses to build Keystone.

The president reportedly told lawmakers last week that he is nearing a decision, but it’s still unclear exactly when the White House will give an answer.

The answer isn’t expected until summer, at the earliest, after the State Department finalizes its comprehensive environmental impact review of the project.

A draft of that report, released earlier this month, seems to pave the way for approval of the project. The long-awaited study found that the pipeline will have little or no impact on greenhouse gas emissions, one of the most frequent complaints raised by environmentalists and other opponents of the project.

Specifically, the study said that the fuel eventually will be developed and made into burnable fuel by someone — if not by the U.S., then by China.

The study also found that Keystone would have little, if any, impact on American demand for crude oil. Environmental groups have dismissed the report and ramped up pressure on Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry — formerly one of Congress‘ loudest voices on climate change and the environment — to kill the project once and for all.

The study, had it been a damning indictment of the project, could have been used by the White House as environmental justification for rejecting Keystone. Instead, it is being held up as proof that the pipeline should be built immediately.

“All of this unnecessary delay has done nothing to improve our energy security or our economy,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican and co-sponsor of the Senate bill. “If the White House can’t see that, then it’s time for Congress to act.”

 

State Department Finds Keystone XL Pipeline Won’t Accelerate Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Heather Ginsberg

State Department Finds Keystone XL Pipeline Won’t Accelerate Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Heather Ginsberg.

Well it looks like now not only do the Republicans have what’s best for the economy and people in mind, but they also care about the environment?! Imagine Democrats with confused looks on their faces! The journey to clearing the path for the Keystone Pipeline has been a bitter fought battle, but it looks like now the White House and its administration can’t fight any more.

In a new report done by the State Department it has been confirmed, “the project would not accelerate global greenhouse gas emissions or significantly harm the natural habitats along its route”.

As ABC reports (yes even the mainstream media is picking up on this),

“The approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including this proposed project, really remains unlikely to significantly impact the rate of development of the oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil in the U.S.,” said Kerri-Ann Jones, the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

The State Department, which conducted the study because the pipeline would cross an international boundary, also suggested in a voluminous report that impacts on air, water and landscape would be minimal.

The agency found it “very unlikely” that the pipeline would affect water quality in any of the four aquifers through which it crossed. It also concluded that along one part of the proposed route, in the case of a large-scale oil spill, “these impacts would typically be limited to within several hundred feet of the release source, and would not affect groundwater.”

Government analysts found that Keystone XL would each year produce the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions of 620,000 passenger cars operating for a year. But they concluded that whether or not the pipeline is approved, those emissions would still likely occur because of fuels goreglobalwarmingproduced and obtained from other sources.

Now, we all know the fight that has been going on between environmental activists and those who support the Keystone Pipeline. But now it seems that there is no real argument for the environmentalists. What can they possibly complain about now? Oh wait, here it is, apparently the government and the State Department don’t really know what they’re talking about, according to the president of Friends of the Earth. He says, “The draft SEIS reads like an on-ramp to justify the Keystone XL pipeline project. We cannot solve the climate crisis when the State Department fails to understand the basic climate, environmental and economic impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline.”

So basically it seems that no matter what supporters of the pipeline do, it is not good enough. We now have the Obama administration on our side, and it is still not enough for these “green” people. They used to try the excuse that the people of the states affected didn’t like it, but now Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota have all signed-off on the pipeline plan and their governors and congressional delegations have been calling on Obama to follow suit. It is time everyone wakes up and realizes this pipeline is the best choice to create thousands of new jobs and provide gas to thousands of people across the country.

Romney to unveil energy plan – Washington Times

 

Romney to unveil energy plan – Washington Times.

By Seth McLaughlin – The Washington Times

Mitt Romney plans to announce at a campaign stop in New Mexico on Thursday that if elected he would allow states to explore for energy on federal lands within their borders as part of a large plan to put North America on course to be energy independent by 2020.

“From oil and gas and coal, to wind and solar and biofuels, states are far better able to develop, adopt and enforce regulations based on their unique resources, geology and local concerns,” the presumptive GOP presidential nominee says in his plan, which responds to a plea from some states that claimed the federal government has locked them out of energy-rich lands.

Mr. Romney’s plan calls for an offshore leasing program that opens up areas off the East Coast to oil and gas development — starting with Virginia and the Carolinas — and vows to block the Environment Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases. It also targets more investment toward private-sector research and creates a North American energy partnership with Canada and Mexico that would aim to advance the Keystone XL pipeline.

“I have a vision for an America that is an energy superpower, rapidly increasing our own production and partnering with our allies Canada and Mexico to achieve energy independence on this continent,” Mr. Romney says in the plan. “If I am elected president, that vision will become a reality by the end of my second term.”

Taken together, the Romney camp estimates the approach would, among other things, generate 3 million jobs, funnel more than $1 trillion into government coffers and lower energy prices for families. The plan would move the nation away from what the campaign calls the failed energy policies of the Obama administration.

“As a result of the president’s policies, energy prices are higher, there are fewer jobs, our industries are less competitive, and families are further strained,” Ed Gillespie, a senior Romney adviser, told reporters in a conference call. “People who are living paycheck to paycheck are struggling as a result of this anti-energy policy, paying more for heating their homes and turning on their electricity and turning on their lights, as well as gas prices being up.”

 

Obama’s Assault on U.S. Energy – Tea Party Nation

 

Obama’s Assault on U.S. Energy – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

For the second time in two days, hundreds of millions of people across India have been plunged into darkness when its electrical grids collapsed. This is a warning of what could occur here in America.

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” — Barack Obama

In a war one of the first targets are the power plants in order to deny the energy a nation requires to function. Obama declared war on coal during the 2008 campaign and few were paying attention. In 1985 coal accounted for 57 percent of all power generated in the U.S. By 2011, it was down to 42 percent.

A July 28 Daily Caller headline reported that a “Record number of coal-fired generators to be shut down in 2012.” Based on an analysis of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the article noted that “coal plant operators are planning to retire 175 coal-fired generators, or 8.5 percent of the total coal-fired capacity in the United States.”

“A record-high 57 generators will shut down in 2012, representing 9 gigawatts of electrical capacity, according to the EIA. In 2015, nearly 10 gigawatts of capacity from 6l coal-fired generators will be retired…the scope of this new planned shutdown is unprecedented.”

“The coal-fired capacity expected to be retired over the next fire years is more than four times greater than retirements performed during the preceding five-year period.”

For those thinking that all those wind turbines and solar farms will make up the difference, it’s worth noting they provide less than three percent of the nation’s electricity and each must be backed up by a traditional—reliable—power plant.

Virtually of them are located far from urban centers and require lengthy, expensive power lines to feed the grid and yet last week the Interior Department announced it will set aside 285,000 acres in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah for solar projects! How many multi-million dollar failed Solyndra’s will it take to stop this rape?

In March 2011 the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report noting that the combined energy resources of the nation are the largest on Earth. They eclipse Saudi Arabia (3rd), China (4th), and Canada 6th) combined. Not included in the report are America’s shale oil and natural gas deposits.

Sen. Inhofe (R-OK), a ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said at the time that “The Obama administration has made a conscious policy choice to raise energy prices, accomplished in good measure by restricting access to domestic energy supplies.” If a foreign nation was doing this to America, we would be at war with them.

The CRS report noted that America’s reserves of coal are unsurpassed, accounting for more than twenty-eight percent of the world’s coal. It estimated that U.S. recoverable coal reserves were around 262 billion tons. Insofar as the U.S. consumers 1.2 billion tons of coal a year, that represents several centuries of coal use.

And, of course, coal is not the only energy source that has been under attack by the Obama administration. The CRS report estimated there are 163 billion barrels of oil that the U.S. can access, enough to replace oil imports from the Persian Gulf for more than fifty years.

One of the reasons that coal plants are being retired is the emergence of a huge domestic reserve of natural gas estimated to be around 2,047 trillion cubic feet in 2009. That would keep the lights on for a century.

The Obama administration energy policy has been appalling. It invested—and lost—billions in green energy companies and green jobs. Its stimulus package is estimated to have cost $335,000 per job “saved” or created.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has been an unmitigated disaster. Before his nomination he said, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” And we all know how well that has worked for Europe whose Union is foundering on the brink of collapse. The Environmental Protection Agency is the other blunt instrument of destruction of the nation’s energy providers.

The Obama administration has consistently insisted that “greenhouse gas emissions”, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) had to be reduced to offset global warming, but there is NO global warming and CO2 plays NO role in climate change. When the administration tried to push cap-and-trade legislation through based on this hoax, Obama said that, under the proposal, “energy prices would necessarily skyrocket.” Does that sound like someone trying to crash the economy? Yes, it does.

Between an oil drilling moratorium—twice declared by the courts to be illegal—and the stalling of the Keystone XL pipeline (which would generate thousands of jobs while costing the U.S. taxpayer nothing!), the war on oil was pursued while the administration offered Brazil billions in U.S. taxpayer money in loan guarantees to build their oil production capacity.

Enormous oil reserves in Alaska and offshore are still unavailable to American use. In addition, crude oil production on federal and Indian lands decreased 13 percent from 739 million barrels in fiscal year 2010 to 645 million barrels in fiscal year 2011. Offshore production on federal lands fell by 17 percent in fiscal year 2011 and is down 40 percent compared to ten years ago.

Four more years of an Obama administration would be—just in terms of energy—a disaster for the nation. The President and his minions are weakening a nation that sits atop some of the world’s greatest energy reserves. This must end soon or the consequences are unimaginable.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

 

Great Moments in Government Waste – Daniel J. Mitchell – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

Great Moments in Government Waste – Daniel J. Mitchell – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary.

Every time some class-warfare Democrat or Charlie Brown Republican says we need higher taxes, I think of all the ways the government wastes money and I get angry because the political elite is ripping off the American people.

Should we send more money to Washington when the federal government is:

And those are just examples of nickel-and-dime programs. The bigger outrage is that politicians have created costly, inefficient, and bankrupt entitlement programs that threaten our fiscal future.

But the small examples have symbolic value, and now I have something new to add to the list. The idiots at the State Department thought it was just fine and dandy to pay 35 times the market price for some Kindles.

IPads are too fancy, Nooks aren’t fancy enough, but Kindles are just right for teaching English, the State Department thinks, which is why it bought 2,500 of them from Amazon in a $16.5 million no-bid contract, NextGov’s Dawn Lim reports. That works out to $6,600 per Kindle Touch — a lot more than the $189 retail price. The plan, according to Kim, is to send the e-readers to “designated libraries and U.S.-friendly educational centers around the world.”

Since your paying for this ripoff, you might be a tad bit irritated. But that’s only because you’re an unsophisticated taxpayer. According to PR hacks, we really are getting a good deal because of all the extras in the agreement. Put down your coffee or soda before reading this passage from the report because I don’t want to be responsible for liquid on your computer screen.

Amazon is responsible for shipping the Kindles, providing 24-7 customer service, sharing data on how the Kindles are used to access content and pushing serialized content to the Kindles regularly. Amazon is also responsible for disabling “standard features, as as [sic.] requested by DoS, for the device such as individual purchasing ability.”

Wow, free shipping. That’s worth a lot. And the customer service surely adds a couple of bucks per unit, not to mention the extra pennies it must cost to disable features and provide electronic updates.

But let’s not be too hard on clueless bureaucrats. Maybe they just don’t understand high tech. After all, moronic government officials paid more than $22,000 each for big institutional Internet routers hooked up to just a handful of computers.

It’s almost enough to make you think government spending is the problem rather than the solution.

Canada Leads the Way on the Pipeline No-Brainer – Tea Party Nation

Canada Leads the Way on the Pipeline No-Brainer – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

“Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry. No Mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydro-electric dams.”

That was Canada’s Natural Resources Minister, Joe Oliver, speaking on January 9, 2012 and he might have been saying the same thing about special interests and the Obama administration in America. With refreshingly plain speech, Oliver criticized environmental organizations, both in Canada and in the U.S., saying they “threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.”

Canada is bringing common sense back into style. A June 3rd Washington Post article reported that “The government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is rewriting the nation’s environmental laws to speed the extraction and export of oil, minerals and other materials to a global market clamoring for Canada’s natural resources.” Moreover, it has “added provisions to an omnibus budget bill that would revamp the way the government reviews the environmental impact of major projects, regulates threats to fisheries, and scrutinizes the political activities of nonprofit groups.”

What is instructive is the way Canada is now leading the way against the obstacles that the environmental organizations on both sides of the border have imposed on the development of energy and other sectors of the nation’s economy. The centerpiece of this development for the moment is the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The Harper government has also proposed the repeal of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, part of the global warming hoax that would require huge reductions in so-called greenhouse gas emissions. It is seeking changes to other federal laws such as the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and Species at Risk Act.

Also under scrutiny is the proper role of non-profit organizations and “charities” that engage in blatant political activities. In typical fashion, the Sierra Club website on Monday claimed that Harper is trying to “steal tax-exempt status from charities that stand up to Big Oil.” Another environmental organization, Friends of the Earth, devotes its website to efforts to block the construction of “the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline from Oklahoma through Texas to the Gulf Coast.”

Every effort in the United States to ensure the provision of energy, whether from coal, oil, natural gas or nuclear power, continues to be assaulted by the huge environmental propaganda machine that currently sees the defeat of the pipeline as crucial to its anti-energy agenda.

On January 18, Americans were astonished to learn that President Obama had formally rejected a bid by Canadian energy company, TransCanada, to build a $7 billion oil pipeline that would link the tar sands of Alberta to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. In a time when the U.S. economy is suffering loss of jobs, the project would normally be a no-brainer.

However, opponents of the pipeline are a virtual who’s who of environmental organizations and a torrent of lies has poured forth from them regarding the project. The American Petroleum Institute estimates it will create 10,000 U.S. jobs next year with an anticipated 45,000 jobs by 2015 and close to 85,000 by 2020.

Among the lies put forth by militant environmentalists is that the environmental impact studies and securing the permits necessary for the pipeline were “rushed.” In truth, it took three years, four months, and five days up to the day TransCanada first filed the permit request to begin construction.

Obama repeated this lie, blaming Republicans for preventing “a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment.” The Obama administration had, in fact, reviewed more than 10,000 pages of environmental studies and the State Department had twice concluded that all requirements had been met!

By contrast, in 1974, the TransAlaskan Pipeline was approved by Congress in just about a year and it was built in less than three years despite being more environmentally and technically challenging.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans have been so angered by the president’s decision against the pipeline that in mid-April the House passed a short-term transportation bill that would facilitate the next stage of the oil pipeline. The bill passed 293 to 127, with 69 Democrats supporting it. It was the fourth time the House had passed a measure to expedite the stalled project, one of which failed in the Senate by a narrow vote when the president personally lobbied some Democrats to vote against it.

Let’s tip our hat to the Canadians who have concluded that environmental lobbies, think tanks, and charities are doing more to harm Canada’s interests by means of the environmental treaties and laws they have worked so hard to impose on that nation and ours. We Americans could learn a valuable lesson from our neighbors to the north.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Buying Obama: How the UAW Got the Best Investment Returns in History – John Ransom – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary

Buying Obama: How the UAW Got the Best Investment Returns in History – John Ransom – Townhall Finance.

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent expose by Sharon Terlep about how Obama’s economic policies end up as bad investments- for the rest of us.

You know? The 99 percent non-bailout people.

OK, it’s really not about that.

It’s about how even the worst union workers and plants under the UAW bailout got bailed out, while great workers at productive plants got the shaft- because they weren’t UAW shops.

Reports Terlep:

In the end, “we had to take care of our own members,” says Cal Rapson, the former UAW vice president leading negotiations with GM. “It was unfortunate what happened to the others. But there wasn’t enough to go around.”

There never is enough when you’re a union boss and you are getting an $80 billion bailout.



That’s supposedly why we elect a president of the United States.

The president is supposed to be the president of ALL of us. But as Obama has made increasingly clear, he’s only the president of Trayvon Martin and Sandra Fluke and Eric Holder, and the half the Keystone pipeline that he himself squashed as well as Bob King, titular president of the UAW. 

Because the truth is, as president of the United States, Obama has made a real fine UAW president.

I don’t think there is a special interest, a lobby or a donor who Obama wouldn’t screw over in order to take care of the 1 percent of workers who represent the UAW:

Despite being one of GM’s most productive and cooperative factories, Moraine was closed following the company’s 2007 labor pact with the United Auto Workers union. Under a deal struck by the UAW during GM’s bankruptcy two years later, Moraine’s 2,500 laid-off workers were barred from transferring to other plants, locking them out of the industry’s rebound.

Oh, yes. The Moraine plant was a union shop, just not UAW. Instead the folks at the Moraine were represented by the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers.

Right: Who?

That’s what Obama thought too.

Since 1990, the UAW has given $27,371,075 to Democrat candidates and $184,500 to Republicans according to the database Opensecrets.org.

In other words, while GM and Chrysler shareholders and bondholders got the shaft, the UAW realized a 292,200 percent return on their investment from the money that they have invested in Democrat politicians.   

The International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers? They got no return at all. Perhaps because they aren’t listed as a donor for any candidates.

But that’s far better than the negative return that taxpayers are seeing from the bailout;

bailouts that tended to favor Obama’s biggest donors in 2008- financial services and unions.

The latest inspector general report says total bailout losses so far equal about $133 billion, with about 19 percent of that loss coming from the automotive industry

Over time, some of that money may be recouped, but total losses are expected to be from $50 billion to $75 billion, and they could be higher.

The total bailout cost for automakers to taxpayers is expected to be about $25 billion. 

Thanks Obama.

That plan is really working out for some of you.

Obama Faces Defeat on Pipeline As Democrats Defect – Byron York – Townhall Conservative Columnists

Obama Faces Defeat on Pipeline As Democrats Defect – Byron York – Townhall Conservative Columnists.

While much of the political world obsesses over Twitter fights and Seamus the dog, Barack Obama has set himself up for a high-profile defeat on one of the most important issues of the campaign.

The president has put his feet in cement in opposing the proposed Keystone pipeline, which would bring newly discovered oil from Canada to refineries in Texas. In a contentious debate, Obama has sided with environmentalists, who fear an accident along a line carrying 700,000 barrels of oil into the U.S. might threaten water supplies. But on Capitol Hill, more and more Democrats are joining Republicans to force approval of the pipeline, whether or not Obama wants it.

The latest action happened last week, when the House passed a measure to move the pipeline forward. Before the vote, Obama issued a veto threat. The House approved the pipeline anyway — by a veto-proof majority, 293-127. Sixty-nine Democrats abandoned the president to vote with Republicans. That’s a lot of defections.

When the House voted on the pipeline in July of last year, 47 Democrats broke with the president. Now that it’s an election year and the number is up to 69, look for Republicans to hold more pipeline votes before November. GOP leaders expect even more Democrats to join them.

Then there is the Senate. Democrats are using the filibuster to stop the pipeline, which means 60 votes are required to pass it. (Some Democrats who bitterly opposed the filibuster when Republicans used it against Obama initiatives are notably silent these days.) In a vote last month, 11 Senate Democrats stood up against Obama to vote in favor of the pipeline. Add those 11 to the Republicans’ 47 votes, and the pro-pipeline forces are just a couple of votes away from breaking Majority Leader Harry Reid‘s filibuster.

“We’re right around the corner from actually passing it,” a well-informed Senate source says. “Two-hundred-ninety-three votes in the House is a gigantic number. People want this thing.”

The president didn’t help his cause when he staged an odd photo op last month, delivering a speech in Cushing, Okla., in front of huge stockpiles of pipes. Obama sang the praises of pipelines — “It is critical that we make pipeline infrastructure a top priority,” he said — and made a big deal of his approval of a section of domestic pipeline that didn’t need his approval. But he remained unyielding on Keystone.

In the latest House vote, the pipeline measure is attached to a larger transportation bill. That now goes to a conference with the Senate, which has passed a version of the transportation measure without the Keystone provision. It’s not clear whether the pipeline will end up in the final bill. But it is certain that, whatever happens, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will force another vote on Keystone sometime soon.

If the pipeline wins those last couple of Senate Democrats, then Obama will be faced with a bill that passed with a veto-proof majority in the House and over a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. The president would be forced either to make good on his veto threat or sign a bill moving the pipeline forward.

If he signs the bill, Obama would surely try to save face by claiming his concerns about the pipeline’s routing and approval process had been met. But there’s no way it would be seen as anything less than a major defeat.

If Obama vetoes the pipeline, he faces an embarrassing rebuff in the House. But in the Senate, it would take 67 votes to overturn the veto, and that’s probably an insurmountable obstacle for pipeline supporters. All the president would need is 34 Democratic dead-enders to stick with him to stop the pipeline.

But Obama could prevail only at grave political cost. The rise in gas prices is a potent issue for Mitt Romney and Republicans, and it could become far more potent if prices increase in the summer. And the president would be standing alone — not just against Republicans, but against a major coalition within his own party, including Big Labor — in opposition to the effort to increase America’s energy supplies. Not a good place to be with an election around the corner.

Meanwhile, the pipeline project is going forward. Recently, the company that will build the pipeline submitted plans for a new route through Nebraska, where much environmental opposition has been focused. And in Lincoln, the Nebraska legislature passed, and the governor signed, a new bill that would hasten state approval of the project.

The odds are overwhelming that the Keystone pipeline will become a reality. In the end, Barack Obama has mostly hurt himself by trying to stop it.

On Earth Day, I Expanded My Carbon Footprint – John Ransom – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary

On Earth Day, I Expanded My Carbon Footprint – John Ransom – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary.

To celebrate “earth day” this year, I decided that I would do what the Obama administration just hasn’t been able to figure out: I would stimulate the economy by the conscious expansion of my carbon footprint.

So I ran the air conditioning for a while in my house.

I also turned all the lights on in the house. Well, actually, I just didn’t turn off the lights my kids turned on. Through this process of reverse attrition, at one point, all the lights in the house eventually were on.

I call this Ransom’s Law: The amount of lights you have burning in the house is in direct proportion to the ratio between the kids and the adults living in the house.

Mathematically it looks something like this: 

an =12p Z p-pf(x)e-inxdx =12pZ p-pf0(x)e-inxdx= limn?∞12pZ p-pfdn(x)e-inxdx = imn?∞12pZ ∞-∞gdn(t)Z p-pe-inx|x – t|1-αdxd=12pZ p-pUµα (x)e-inxdx. 

When the last light, the refrigerator light, stayed on because someone forgot to shut the fridge door, I shouted out: “Hurrah for our carbon footprint!”

Later in the day I revived the quaint custom of the Sunday afternoon drive with my wife. I hit every red light, accelerated quickly to use more gas, used busy streets for more stop- and-go traffic and ran the air conditioner in the car at full blast

We made frequent stops at friends’ houses to urge them to get out and expand their own carbon footprint.

Because here’s the essential dichotomy that the country faces: We won’t get out of the economic slump while we have leaders who think that everything has to be rationed except for other people’s money.

This is especially true about energy. Energy quite literally is the fuel on which our economy runs. More fuel, better performance.

Let’s have a plan that stops rationing energy and instead uses much, much more energy.  

Obama and friends don’t seem to understand that plentiful energy creates more money, more economic activity; that the more we drill for domestic sources of oil and gas, and the more we use cheap, plentiful coal, the more prosperous the country is going to become.

And if the folks in Washington aren’t going to cut spending, the least they could do is let the rest of us use the economy so that deficit isn’t as big.

If you are a teacher and you want smaller class sizes, tell the Obama administration to quit mucking around with regulations that keep the economy under the liberal thumb. Class size will go down when local economies pick up and more local revenues are created that fund schools. The school budget crisis is largely driven by poor economic conditions, not low tax rates.   

If you are a government employee who is worried about the gap in your pension funding, then write a letter to the president and tell him to turf his environmental allies on the Keystone pipeline. Your pension expands when the economy expands. Were it not for the oil and gas industries, your pension would face an even graver shortfall than it does today.  

A recent report from Sonecon, an economic advisory firm that analyzes the impact of government policies, studied the investment results from the two largest public pension programs in 17 states. The study covered approximately 60 percent of all the public pension assets in those states. The assets were invested on behalf of teachers, firefighters, police and other public employees.

According to the report, “The average rate of return on investments by these funds in oil and natural gas stocks was seven times greater than the average return on their investments in all other assets. This ratio ranged from a low of 2.7 to 1 to a high of 40 to 1.”

If you are an activist worried about inexpensive housing for the poor, high energy prices don’t help make housing more affordable. High energy prices hit the poor the hardest.

According to Bloomberg/BusinessWeek “Energy costs this year will represent 24 percent of after- tax income for families earning $10,000 to $30,000, up from 14 percent in 2001. Families with after-tax income from $30,000 to $50,000 will spend 7 percent of their earnings on electricity, according to the study.” A quarter of the income of low-paid workers goes to energy costs. That means for the first two hours of every workday, a low income worker is just paying a light bill.  

If that were a tax, liberals would be out with the hue and the cry about how unfair energy prices are. But it’s OK when it comes to energy, because the green lobby writes checks to politicians while poor people don’t.

One thing is for sure: If Obama is forced to choose between the poor and his well-heeled donors, he picks the donors every time.  

The best government program for the poor, isn’t one that puts people in conflict, it’s one that ensures that energy is cheap, domestic and reliable.

“This is probably the biggest stimulus we have going,” Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research told the WSJ.

According to the Journal “$145 billion will be spent drilling and completing wells this year, up from $13 billion in 2000.” And it’s not costing taxpayers anything.           

Five years ago, many labored under the false assumption that the world was quickly running out of carbon-based fuels. But today we know that that’s not true.

While it’s estimated that Canada may have as much as 2 trillion barrels of oil in reserves, “the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the [US] has 4.3 trillion barrels of in-place oil shale resources centered in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming,” said Helen Hankins, Colorado director for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management” according to the Associated Press.

4.3 trillion barrels is 16 times the reserves of Saudi Arabia, or enough oil to supply the US for 600 years.

Building out the infrastructure to drill and transport that oil just from the Rocky Mountains in the US could supply literally ten million jobs for American workers, while supplying literally millions of barrels of oil per day, repairing our energy security for the next century. The end result would be the creation of about $15 trillion in wealth over the next ten years, with almost $4 trillion in revenues net to the federal government all without raising taxes.

So go ahead. Help me expand this country’s carbon footprint. It’s the best green investment that we can ever make.  

Obama Headed For Defeat in Pipeline Fight – Byron York – Townhall Conservative Columnists

keystone pipeline

keystone pipeline (Photo credit: shannonpatrick17)

Obama Headed For Defeat in Pipeline Fight – Byron York – Townhall Conservative Columnists.

To hear the White House tell it, Barack Obama might be the most pipeline-friendly president ever to occupy the Oval Office.

In advance of Obama’s March 22 visit to Cushing, Okla, the White House released a fact sheet detailing the president’s support for oil pipeline projects. “The need for pipeline infrastructure is urgent, because rising American oil production is outpacing the capacity of pipelines to deliver oil to refineries,” the White House wrote. “It is critical that we make pipeline infrastructure a top priority.”

When the president appeared in Cushing, White House image-makers positioned him in front of huge stockpiles of pipe — tons and tons of pipe. Message: Obama loves pipelines. “Under my administration,” the president said, “we’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some.”

But Obama wasn’t in Cushing because he has approved so much new pipeline. He was there because he is facing bipartisan opposition, in Congress and across the country, for blocking the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would bring about 700,000 barrels of oil from Canada to refineries in Texas every day, creating thousands of new jobs in the process. The opposition appears to be growing, and there’s good reason to believe Obama will be forced to reverse himself in the next few months.

A new Gallup poll shows that 57 percent of Americans say the government should approve building Keystone. That number includes 81 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 44 percent (a plurality) of Democrats. The only good news for the White House is that most Americans aren’t following the issue very closely, at least not yet.

In Cushing, the president announced he will expedite approval of the relatively short southern portion of the Keystone project, known as the Cushing pipeline, which will take oil that is already in Oklahoma down to the Texas refineries. “I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles and make this project a priority,” Obama said.

But Republicans quickly pointed out that a) presidential approval wasn’t necessary for that portion of the pipeline, since it is all domestic, and b) it was Obama’s agencies that were responsible for the red tape and bureaucratic hurdles in the first place. “He’s out in Oklahoma trying to take credit for a part of the pipeline that doesn’t even require his approval,” said House Speaker John Boehner.

The GOP has also pointed out that there are many, many pipelines already crisscrossing the United States, including some that cross the Canadian border. In fact, Republicans say, Obama is the first president to deny a permit for a cross-border pipeline.

In addition, GOP lawmakers cite maps showing there are already pipelines over the Ogallala Aquifer, the giant underground water table that stretches below Nebraska and several other heartland states and is the reason environmentalists cite for opposing the Keystone project. “America either should install Keystone XL, with all of its benefits, or — if such pipelines really are as dangerous as Democrats argue — yank out all these pipelines that could destroy Ogallala,” writes conservative commentator Deroy Murdock, who has argued strongly in favor of the pipeline.

Recently, Senate Republicans forced a vote on a proposal to approve Keystone. The final vote was 56 – 42, with 11 Democrats breaking with the president to vote in favor of the pipeline. The only reason it didn’t pass was that the Democratic leadership filibustered the measure, requiring 60 votes for passage. (Liberal critics of the filibuster, so angry when Republicans used it to block Democratic measures, were uncharacteristically silent after the vote.)

If Obama has already lost 11 Democratic votes, with the election still several months away, it’s likely he is going to lose more in the future. “Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said after the last vote that the issue would not be going away,” says a Senate GOP source. “There is strong bipartisan support, and we’ll have more shots at this.”

In coming months, Republicans can likely count on the support of more and more Americans who are more and more angry about rising gas prices. As the general election campaign begins, Obama will face determined arguments from Republicans that in his desire to promote green energy — Obama will hear the word “Solyndra” many, many times this fall — he is standing in the way of making America more self-sufficient in oil and gas. It won’t matter how many photo-ops he stages in front of piles of pipes. In the end, he’ll have to say yes to Keystone.

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