masthead-highres

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Project 21's Robin Martin on PBS "To the Contrary" This Weekend

Project 21 member Robin Martin is scheduled to appear on the PBS public affairs television program "To the Contrary" airing this weekend on public television stations nationwide.

Currently in its 18th year, "To the Contrary" seeks to provide a "timely forum for women to discuss national and international issues and policies. It presents news and views that are rarely, if ever, available elsewhere on television."

Among the topics scheduled to be discussed this week are childhood obesity and environmental justice.

"To the Contrary" is aired at various times around the country. To find out where and when it is broadcast in your area, click here.

This post was written by David Almasi, executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.


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Posted by David W. Almasi at 7:26 AM

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Message to IPCC: Time to Return the Nobel Peace Prize

Kids holding candlesChildren in Kenya light candles to illustrate the need for access to energy in their community. Many of the pictured children cannot do homework at home after dark, as they do not have electricity in their homes. Photo by David Ridenour

The relevant scientist at the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has now admitted false information on the alleged aggressive melting of Himalayan was placed in the 2007 IPCC report to "impact policy-makers and politicians," and that he knew the information was not based on a solid scientific foundation.

For this work, the IPCC won half the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 (sharing it with Al Gore, who was awarded half in his own right).

For committing this fraud, the IPCC should voluntarily return the Nobel Peace Prize, and, if they want the IPCC to ever have credibility again, people who believe in the global warming theory should join us in this call. Unless there are severe repercussions -- in the case of the IPCC, mostly embarrassment -- for intentionally committing scientific fraud, we'll get more and more of it. There is money to be made if the global warming theory is proven true, which leads to a lot of temptation that not every scientist or allegedly scientific organization is going to resist.

The stakes are high here: People in developing countries need low-cost access to energy to reach the living standards we in the U.S. mostly take for granted. Policies to combat carbon raise energy prices, retarding that development.

Anti-global warming policies also disproportionately hurt the poor in developed countries.

To be brutally frank, our politicians have enough trouble delivering sound energy policies when they do have access to accurate information; the odds get significantly higher when scientists intentionally feed them lies.

To prove it has learned its lesson (and thus is worthy of being trusted in the future), and to send a strong message to every scientist that deceit will not be tolerated, the IPCC should immediately return its half of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Furthermore, it should accept the resignation of its chairman and clean house, top-to-bottom, putting a strong error-checking and strict anti-conflict-of-interest system in place.

Addendum: Noel Sheppard of Newsbusters points out that this story was broken by the British press, and chastises the U.S. mainstream media -- quite properly -- for ignoring important global warming-related stories their counterparts abroad cover deeply. For additional developments on this breaking story (and there are plenty of them), visit Climate Depot.

Addendum 2: We may be looking at a criminal case.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:44 AM

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Note to Project 21 Fans: Glenn Beck Rebroadcast of Most Recent Show Featuring Project 21 Members

GlennBeckLogoThe Fox News Channel is rebroadcasting, right this minute, the second of two Beck shows featuring a discussion with black conservatives (including Project 21 members).

If you can't catch it on the Fox News Channel for whatever reason, Booker Rising (a website I often visit, but don't mention as much as I should) has made available the video of the entire show, which is entitled "A Time To Be Heard."

We also posted on this blog the segments of the show featuring Project 21 members. Go here to watch Lisa Fritsch; go here to watch full-time Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli on the "A Time To Be Heard" Glenn Beck broadcast.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:01 PM

Monday, January 18, 2010

Project 21's Deneen Borelli Talks Green Jobs on Glenn Beck

In case you missed it from Friday...


Project 21 full-time fellow Deneen Borelli talks about the fantasy of economic empowerment through radical environmental policies on the January 14, 2010 broadcast of the Glenn Beck program on the Fox News Channel.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:44 PM

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

''The Struggle Does Not Stop Here,'' Say Witnesses, Apparently Seriously

The propaganda in this reminds me of the fictional Nobel Peace Prize-winning left-wing "biography" I, Rigoberto Menchu.

People often believe dumb stuff because they want to believe it. Whether it is accurate is of no account to them.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:21 PM

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hear the Borellis Speak on Cap-and-Trade at Harrisburg Tea Party Event This Saturday

Free Enterprise Project Director Tom Borelli and Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli are both featured speakers at a rally to be held in conjunction with the "March on Harrisburg, PA" on Saturday, November 14. The march and rally is sponsored by the Philadelphia Tea Party Patriots.

The rally will be held on the steps of the Pennsylvania State Capitol and is scheduled to begin at 2:30 PM eastern. Prior to the rally, people will gather in the parking lot of nearby City Island for a march across the Susquehanna River that is scheduled to begin at 2:00 PM eastern.

Tom and Deneen will both speak on the economic consequences of the "cap-and-trade" energy tax proposal supported by the Obama Administration and the liberal leadership of the House and Senate in Washington. The keynote speaker will be former House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

For more information about the event, click here.

This post was written by David Almasi, executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.


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Posted by David W. Almasi at 5:21 PM

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

NAACP Endorsement of Climate Legislation Puts It at Odds With Views of Black Americans

Project 21 says the NAACP's apparent search for purpose is leading it down the wrong road:
NAACP Endorsement of Climate Legislation Puts It at Odds With Views of Black Americans

For Release: July 22, 2009
Contact: David Almasi at 202/543-4110 x11 or [email protected]


Struggling for purpose in light of the election of the first black president, the NAACP moves in the wrong direction, says a group of black conservatives, when it endorses a climate policy in tandem with the World Wildlife Federation that is opposed by a majority of black Americans.

"I'm all in favor of the nation's oldest civil rights group redefining its mission and agenda; however this indicates that the NAACP continues to struggle with current realities that face the nation's black communities by promoting policies they are opposed to," said Project 21’s Joe Hicks, who is also a PajamasTV commentator. "If this group simply wants to be defined as another left-wing organization touting the weak science on climate change, then it is destined to face ever-growing irrelevancy."

Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli added: "It's outrageous for the NAACP to place liberal ideology over the welfare of the nation. By aligning with the environmental activist lobby, the NAACP is now an official member of 'Club Green' - the exclusive club of elites waging war against fossil fuels. Tragically, the cover charge for their membership - job losses, reduced standard of living and high energy costs - will be borne disproportionately by the very people the NAACP claims to represent."

The NAACP's zeal for regulation is opposed by most black Americans. A recent poll of 800 black Americans found 76 percent believe Congress should make economic recovery, not climate change, its top priority. 56 percent believe policymakers do not adequately consider the quality of life of black Americans when addressing climate policy. When asked how much they would pay for gas and electricity to reduce greenhouse emissions, 76 percent said they would be unwilling to pay more than $50 a year while 52 percent were unwilling to pay anything at all.

Hicks added: "The NAACP shows how out of touch it has become by advocating Obama Administration policies on so-called climate change that impact the very population that claim to represent - poor, black Americans. Adding an increased burden of higher coast for essential things like gasoline and electricity at a time of economic hardship demonstrates that they have no independent course of leadership, but instead is blindly following this administration's disastrous lead."

The survey was conducted by Wilson Research Strategies for The National Center for Public Policy Research, which sponsors Project 21, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.4%. It can be viewed at: http://www.nationalcenter.org/BlackOpinion.html.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:01 AM

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Video of Project 21's Mychal Massie on the O'Reilly Factor


Here's a video of Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie (right), guest host Laura Ingraham and Mark Sawyer, Ph.D. of UCLA on Friday's Fox News O'Reilly Factor.

They discussed President Obama's speech at the NAACP convention (including the President's curiously changed accent) and Senator Barbara Boxer's patronizing comments this week to a witness from the Black Chamber of Commerce at a recent hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Mychal also mentioned the National Center for Public Policy Research's recent poll of African-Americans on cap and trade.

Hat tip to AmericasNewsToday1 for posting the video on YouTube.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:00 AM

Monday, March 02, 2009

No Coal! No Oil! No Power! No Heat!

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Anti-global warming protester uses a "Stop Global Warming" sign as an ice scraper at rally at the U.S. Capitol coal-fired power plant Monday

"We don't want the world to boil, no coal, no oil!"

There was no chance, despite the warning of this protest chant, of anything boiling outside in Washington, D.C. today. Global warming activists who threatened "mass civil disobedience" in the nation's capitol Monday probably never expected to be competing with the biggest snowfall of the season.

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Not going to get much power from this snowy solar panel...

Yet this seems to happen every time the global warming activists plan a major event to talk about how hot our planet is going to get. (For more information about this practice, see the children's story "Chicken Little.")

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...as the non-functioning light bulbs supposedly powered by that solar panel demonstrate.

Hundreds of activists - mostly students, from the looks of it - were protesting Nancy Pelosi's private coal-fired power plant. It's the plant that powers the Capitol complex. Until recently, Pelosi and company pretended to have a carbon-neutral Congress by using taxpayer dollars to buy "carbon offsets" that essentially gave them little more than peace of mind. This practice has since been discontinued. An analysis found it might not be doing any good, and they no longer have faith in throwing money at their embarrassment (now, if we can get them to expand this line of thinking to their spend-and-tax agenda).

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David Almasi and Devon Carlin of the National Center for Public Policy Research

Anyway, the Competitive Enterprise Institute enlisted the help of The National Center for Public Policy Research, FreedomWorks and other groups to point out that coal and oil provide plentiful and affordable energy to average Americans. Energy bills are up this year, and there is no way wind and solar - the darling energy-generation methods of today's protestors - are going to provide people with the amount of energy they need at the prices they can afford.

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Where's James Hansen?

No one is against new and alternative sources of energy, but it's their way or the highway in the minds of these protestors. If they are successful, expect bigger bills and energy shortages in the future.

This blog post was compiled largely from notes compiled by David Almasi.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:34 PM

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Scandal that is the EPA

Writing on National Review Online, Henry I. Miller excoriates the Environmental Protection Agency.

Here's just a sample:
...The EPA has long been more concerned with public relations than public health. An EPA scheme that was exposed in 2005 planned to divert research funds to pay outside public-relations consultants up to $5 million over five years to improve the website of its Office of Research and Development, conduct focus groups on how to polish the office’s image, and produce ghostwritten articles praising the agency “for publication in scholarly journals and magazines.”

It’s no surprise that EPA must buy good press. The agency is relentlessly inept and corrupt, and motivated by radical ideology rather than a genuine desire to protect the environment. It serves not the public interest, but the most extreme and doctrinaire environmentalists.

The EPA’s payola scheme is similar to the agency’s longstanding practice of buying influence by doling out hundreds of millions of dollars each year to non-profit organizations—money that, according to the inspector general and Government Accountability Office, is dispersed with no public notice, competition, or accountability. Specifically, they documented systematic malfeasance by regulators, including: (1) making grants to grantees who were unable to carry out the terms of the grants; (2) favoring an exclusive clique of grantees without opening the grants to competition; (3) funding “environmental” grants for activities that lack any apparent environmental benefit; and (4) failing to ensure that grantees performed the objectives identified in the grants.

Misconduct, mendacity, and conflicts of interest are just business as usual at the EPA...
With all the other governmental disasters going on, scandals that are business-as-usual at the EPA can fly under the radar. Kudos to Henry Miller for shedding light on this subject.

Read it all here.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:44 AM

Friday, January 30, 2009

Regulation Expected to Push Gas Stations Out of Business

From Alfred Lee at the Pasadena Star-News, information that new environmental regulations in California will push some gas stations out of out of business:
Dozens, and potentially hundreds, of gas stations around California are choosing to shut down rather than comply with a state mandate that would require owners to purchase new equipment to reduce vapor emissions at the pump.

The requirement, known as Phase II in the state's Enhanced Vapor Recovery Program, is set to go into effect in April. It requires gas station owners to individually purchase tens of thousands of dollars of equipment designed to prevent harmful vapors from escaping into the air when gasoline is pumped.

But smaller retailers say that the requirement puts an unfair burden on businesses that don't sell enough gasoline to offset the extra cost - and that don't contribute much to the problem in the first place.

Among them is George Fasching, who after 31 years of selling gasoline at Fasching's Car Wash in Arcadia, stopped in December.

"I came to the decision that I was too small a volume operator to continue on with the expenses imposed by the bureaucracy of the state," Fasching said.

April's requirements would have cost him $35,000, he said. Fasching used to sell the gasoline as a convenience for his car wash customers, and blames the new regulations for forcing him to stop.

"It will have some effect on my business, but at least I have the relief that I don't have to deal with these people anymore," he said.

As of the end of December 2008, the South Coast Air Quality Management District had heard back from 3,109 of its 4,500 sites about EVR Phase II.

Seventy-six - or 2.4 percent - indicated they will be shutting down on April 1, 2009 rather than upgrade their sites...
Read the rest here.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:21 AM

Thursday, January 15, 2009

So Was Barbarossa, Buddy, But It Doesn't Mean We Approve of It

"'The fact that we got this coalition to coalesce around a set of choices I think is impressive,'" said Jeffrey R. Immelt, chief executive of General Electric."
-Coalition Agrees on Emissions Cuts, Steven Mufson, Washington Post, January 15, 2009

More on our take on rich executives lobbying Congress to raise energy prices on poorer people so they can get richer still here.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:44 PM

At Energy and Commerce Hearing, House Conservatives Call CEOs to Account

Looks like conservatives on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee are calling turncoat corporate CEOs to account on the Hill today:

From Stephen Power's account on the Wall Street Journal's Environmental Capital blog, as posted there by Keith Johnson:
The Waxman era begins: The first congressional hearing of 2009 on climate change got off to an acrimonious start Thursday, as House Republicans blasted a group of corporate CEOs and environmental groups for staging a press conference instead of appearing before the House Ènergy and Commerce Committee to answer lawmakers’ questions about their ideas for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Republicans also vowed to hold members of the US Climate Action Partnership accountable for their own use of fossil fuels, by demanding they explain to the committee whether they traveled to Washington by corporate aircraft and how much fuel they used.

“Be prepared for a battle,” Illinois Republican John Shimkus said at the start of the hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Mr. Shimkus vowed to “hold accountable” any Democrats from coal-abundant and petroleum-producing states who vote in favor of legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions and set up an emissions trading system in which companies would have to buy permits allowing them to pollute.

Mr. Shimkus and other Republicans called such legislation, which is favored by President-elect Barack Obama, “a shell game designed to hide” the true costs of regulation from consumers...
Good, good, good.

Using Congress for profiteering is reprehensible; doing it in the name of conservation while flying in on corporate jets to lobby for disproportionately-higher energy costs on lower-income and minority populations makes it doubly so.

I'm not at the hearing, but who wants to bet they have it heated nice and toasty on this bitterly cold global warmy January day?

The only creature comfort the conspirators will be missing is a collection of puppies for the CEOs and the liberal Congressmen to kick on their way out of the hearing room (or so I assume).

We issued a press release on this expensive nonsense earlier this morning:
Energy Bubble, Anyone?

Henry Waxman Gives Public a Look at the Corporate-Congressional Alliance that Threatens to Raise Energy Prices in Pursuit of Private Profit


Thursday's first hearing of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee since Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) ousted Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) as chairman is drawing criticism from the National Center for Public Policy Research, which says the hearing illustrates how powerful corporate interests are working with influential special interests and with the liberal majority in Congress to use government to enhance private profits at great cost to economic growth and liberty.

The hearing will, according to the committee's announcement, "present the perspectives of members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership ('USCAP'), a coalition of over 30 businesses and nongovernmental organizations that has called for Congress to pass legislation to address the climate change threat."

"Today's hearing on the U.S. Climate Action Partnership exposes the dangers posed by the new political economy," said Tom Borelli PhD, director of the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research. "The alignment of corporations, special interest groups and liberal members of Congress aiming for this legislative goal is frightening. The housing bubble was born from an alliance of similar interest groups and now we are about to repeat the same mistake with energy policy."

Corporate members of USCAP are trying to profit from a government-mandated "cap and trade" anti-global warming policy by selling so called carbon credits from reductions in greenhouse gases. Under cap-and-trade, emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, would be limited by the federal government. Companies that are over their emission allotment will be forced to purchase credits from another company that is below its allowance.

Under a cap-and-trade policy, companies would be forced to raise energy prices to reduce their emissions. This would unleash a series of adverse economic consequences and hardships for Americans, as the National Center's Vice President David Ridenour noted in a recent article in Investor's Business Daily:
* A study by the National Association of Manufacturers projected that emissions caps, similar to those rejected earlier this year by the U.S. Senate calling for a 63% cut in emissions by 2050, would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by up to $269 billion and cost 850,000 jobs by 2014.

* According to a study conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the restrictions could raise gasoline prices by 29%, electricity prices by 55% and natural gas prices by 15% by 2015.

* A 2007 report by the Congressional Budget Office, examining the costs of cutting carbon emissions just 15%, noted that customers "would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline. Those price increases would be regressive in that poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would."
"The alignment of corporate and government agendas for the so called "social good" is eerily similar of the warnings in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged which described the unraveling of capitalism" said Deneen Borelli, a full-time Fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research-sponsored African-American leadership network Project 21.

"Pursuing legislation that will raise energy prices in the middle of a recession is economic suicide. It exposes the inability of these CEOs to connect the dots between economic growth and their future earnings," added Tom Borelli. "Let's not forget USCAP corporate membership reads like a who's who list of corporate losers; AIG and Lehman Brothers were founding members and General Electric stock is trading at multiyear lows. Ford, Chrysler and GM are also members -- need I say more?" said Tom Borelli.

"Unfortunately for shareholders, the USCAP CEOs, like their banking industry colleagues, have executed poor risk management regarding the impact of cap-and-trade on their businesses. While banking CEOs thought real estate prices could only go up, USCAP CEOs somehow think there is no downside risk to high energy prices and handing over more power to government bureaucrats. They also think the environmental special interest groups are their friends. That's incredibly naïve," Tom Borelli said.

"We know for a fact that some USCAP CEOs have not analyzed the impact of cap-and-trade on their business. In response to my question about the company's participation in USCAP at the Caterpillar shareholder meeting in 2007, CEO James Owens admitted he did not conduct a cost benefit analysis of cap-and-trade on his business. Shareholders should be outraged over such incompetence," said Deneen Borelli.

"ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva has also not done his homework," said Tom Borelli. "ConocoPhillips has made a significant investment in Canadian oil sands, which release about three times the amount of carbon dioxide than traditional oil. Since cap-and-trade will increase the cost of carbon emissions, Mulva is lobbying to increase the cost of his investment. In addition, his USCAP partner Natural Resources Defense Council is taking legal action to block the processing of the oil sands at a ConocoPhillips refinery."

"Finally, if General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt is so concerned about the state of the planet," Tom Borelli Continued, "why was he selling electricity infrastructure equipment to Iran? Nuclear Iran poses a much greater threat than carbon emissions."
America doesn't need cap and trade and it doesn't need a carbon tax. Any look at the sorry state at the USCAP portion of America's business community, however, makes clear that of the two, cap and trade is worse, because it pits the profit interests of big business directly against the pocketbook interests of the little guy.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:55 AM

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Biofuel-Fueled Food Crisis Requires Dramatic Response, Senator Says

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) has delivered a floor speech calling for "'dramatic' action to address global food difficulties caused in part by current biofuel mandates."

Inhofe said, in part:
Recently, the world has been confronted with irrefutable evidence that our current biofuels mandates are having massive and potentially life threatening consequences.

Once again, we are reminded how restrictive government mandates and ill-advised bureaucratic meddling produce unintended consequences. Trying to centrally manage and “plan” a global food distribution network and economy through clumsy, unrealistically high mandates has been a proven failure.

An April 28 article on our current biofuel mandates in the National Review by Phil Kerpen and James Valvo detailed the mindset of bureaucratic planners.
Each new generation of central planners believes the previous generation wasn't smart enough. Yet central economic planning is forever doomed to failure since the approach itself limits human freedom, ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
To put it into simpler terms: As Ronald Reagan once said, “The more the plans fail, the more the planners plan.”
There's lot's more.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:06 PM

Monday, March 10, 2008

Project 21 Helps Expose Hypocrisy of Environmental Elite in the Third World

From David Almasi:
You may remember Al Gore being unmasked last year by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, which discovered that Gore's Nashville mansion was using 20 times the amount of energy as an average American home. Additionally, Gore and his celebrity friends are holding nearly annual rock concerts to celebrate their environmental alarmism. And let's not forget all those special flights they take to and from their international conferences, where they moan about the evils of excessive air travel, among other things.

On Tuesday, March 11, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) will begin running a commercial on cable television exposing the hypocrisy of Gore and the environmentalist elite.

CEI's commercial shows that many in the Third World - particularly those in Africa - are literally dying due to a lack of adequate power, and the catastrophe that could result from imposing anti-global warming emissions regulations on power generation in these areas. Forcing these people to go without would be especially galling considering Gore and his ilk are living opulent lifestyles.

To help CEI and show just how much the anti-energy environmentalist elites are out of step with the rest of the world, Project 21 - the National Center's black leadership network - has gathered statements for the press conference from native Africans and black Americans who have seen first-hand how Western elites try to impose their will on others.

Here are some samples of their statements:
Thompson Ayodele, director of the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis in Lagos, Nigeria: "The Nobel Peace Prize, Oscar and an Emmy Mr. Gore has been awarded for his environmental activism will only aid the people of Africa is he melts them down and donates the gold to a relief organization. For him and his colleagues to try to restrict people of the world from obtaining the energy they need in the means that are cost-effective and readily available for them to get it is not humanitarian in any sense of the word."

Project 21's Bishop Council Nedd II: "If it weren't so unsettling it would be funny that it is people such as Al Gore who are behind policies and pressure to restrict the development of pretty much every sort of successful method of energy production. This is inconvenient and costly to us here in the United States, but it can be a matter of life-and-death in a developing country."

Alice Wanja Hinga, RN, a native Kenyan: The people of Africa cannot afford to worry about their carbon footprint when they are focused on making sure they have enough to eat and can remain healthy. If people from outside Africa want to intervene, it should be to make access to things easier, not more difficult. My people ask for assistance, but the strings attached to certain aid are sometimes worse than not accepting anything in the first place."
The CEI press conference will be held in the Murrow Room of the National Press Club (529 14th Street NW, 13th floor) at 10:00 am on Tuesday, March 11. A PDF of the statements can be found here (pdf).
To contact author David Almasi directly,
write him at [email protected]

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:06 PM

Friday, September 07, 2007

Congressmen Supporting Clean Water Bill Should Remember Katrina

Peyton Knight looks at Rep. James Oberstar's Clean Water Restoration Act, and wonders why Congress doesn't seem to have learned much from Hurricane Katrina:
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN) and many of his colleagues traveled to New Orleans and witnessed the destruction firsthand. They were understandably moved by the carnage wrought by a storm that killed over 1,700 people, left 80 percent of New Orleans underwater and transformed the gulf coast environment into a toxic gumbo of raw sewage, bacteria and industrial waste.

What is difficult to understand is why Rep. Oberstar and many in Congress would now champion a bill that could make it more difficult for hurricane-prone areas to protect themselves from Mother Nature's future onslaughts.

Recall that, days after Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast, news emerged that a massive hurricane barrier project designed to protect New Orleans was deep-sixed by an environmental lawsuit that claimed the project posed a threat to wetlands.

Over 40 years ago, Congress approved the Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane Barrier Project after Hurricane Betsy pummeled New Orleans. The project consisted of miles of levees and two gigantic storm gates that were designed to prevent Lake Pontchartrain from becoming overwhelmed by a massive hurricane storm surge. In the event of a hurricane, the gates would have closed off two straits that feed into the lake from the Gulf of Mexico, preventing the huge lake from swelling and burying New Orleans.

In 1976, the environmental group Save Our Wetlands sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers demanding the project be stopped because it could harm wetlands. In 1977, U.S. District Judge Charles Schwartz Jr. ruled in favor of the environmental group and stopped the barrier project.

It would never be built.

"If we had built the barriers, New Orleans would not be flooded," said Joseph Towers, former chief counsel for the Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans district, days after Hurricane Katrina's landfall. "My feeling was that saving human lives was more important than saving a percentage of shrimp and crab in Lake Pontchartrain. I told my staff at the time that this judge had condemned the city."

In addition to saving lives, the project could have saved taxpayers as well. Towers said the project had an estimated cost of $85 million in 1965, or just over $560 million in 2007 dollars. By comparison, Hurricane Katrina has cost federal taxpayers over $114 billion to date.

Now, Save Our Wetlands is at it again. Just a few months ago, it announced plans to sue under the Clean Water Act, and other environmental laws, to thwart the construction of another project designed to protect Louisianans from future hurricanes and also help preserve marshlands.

Even more incredibly, some in Congress are looking to give environmental litigators like Save Our Wetlands a leg up.

In the midst of another hurricane season, Rep. Oberstar and 169 of his colleagues are pushing the "Clean Water Restoration Act," a bill that legal scholars say would encourage more wetlands lawsuits - lawsuits with the potential to thwart even more vital public works projects like those designed to protect people from hurricanes. As M. Reed Hopper, principal attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, told Congress in July, "the bill itself calls for court intervention... In effect, the Act is an abdication of the legislative role."

The Clean Water Act has already been a catalyst for numerous, frivolous wetlands lawsuits since its inception. A LexisNexis search for "clean water act" and "lawsuit," covering just the past two years, garners over 2,400 news stories.

As we remember the victims of Hurricane Katrina, we should also remember the preventative measures that were prescribed over 40 years ago and the reasons those measures never came to fruition. If only Congressman Oberstar and his colleagues would remember this as well.
To contact author Peyton Knight directly,
write him at [email protected]

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:58 PM

Friday, June 29, 2007

Barbara Boxer's Mean Left Hook

From husband David, some personal observations from the most recent hearing on global warming in Senator Barbara Boxer's committee:
Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer said that she wanted to continue hearing from all sides of the global warming debate during her closing statement at yesterday's global warming hearing.

We have reason to doubt her sincerity.

Those who disagree with her particular view of global warming can end up on the receiving end of Boxer's very mean left hook.

Just ask Bob Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Company. During his testimony yesterday, Murray implored the committee to resist regulations that would inflict hardship on American families. He said he was particularly concerned about the welfare of the 3,300 people directly dependent and up to 36,000 indirectly dependent on Murray Energy for their livelihoods.

In response, Chairman Boxer introduced a Columbus Dispatch article, littered with quotes from her trade union movement allies, that questioned the safety record of Murray's mines.

Yes, the article was way off-topic, but the point of introducing it was to impugn Mr. Murray's reputation and undermine his credibility when he spoke of his deep concern for workers.

Senator Boxer had intended to criticize Mr. Murray without allowing him to respond, but he defended his company's safety record, sometimes speaking over her gavel.

There was no pretense of fairness. Had she chosen to be fair, Senator Boxer would have had to mention that Murray Energy received the International Society of Mine Safety Professionals' Leadership Award in 2003.

Murray did much better in the exchange.

Senator Boxer appeared petty, intemperate, and ungracious - certainly not the image the Chairman of the committee that had invited Mr. Murray to testify should project.

Perhaps even she realized this.

Moments before introducing the Columbus Dispatch article, she appeared to be showing it to freshman Senator Sheldon Whitehouse - possibly to convince him to take the lead in character assassination.

If she did, he didn't bite. Whitehouse may be a freshman, but he wasn't born yesterday.

* * *

Senator Joe Lieberman may have his flaws, but he was at least a bit more honest about how open he was to hearing the views of others.

Before departing the hearing, Lieberman said he'd be happy to meet and work with anyone who agrees that global warming is a problem and that devising a cap and trade system is the answer.

In other words, he'll be happy to meet with anyone who shares his view.

We have no reason to doubt his sincerity, at least.
To contact author David Ridenour directly,
write him at [email protected]

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:03 PM

Friday, March 30, 2007

New Phrase: "Fuel Poverty"

In Britain, very likely the country doing more than any other to fight what its government believes is a threat from human caused global warming, the phrase "fuel poverty" is gaining currency (no pun intended).

One of the side effects of many government proposals to fight global warming -- for instance, so-called "cap and trade" here in the United States -- is an increase in consumer energy bills.

Says the British ThisIsMoney.co.uk website (excerpted):
The number of households facing a choice between heating and eating has almost doubled in the past two years.

Spiralling gas and electricity bills have left nearly 4m having to spend at least 10 percent of their disposable income on heating and lighting - the definition of 'fuel poverty'.

This is an increase of more than 1.7m, according to an independent study. The research was commissioned by the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes - a group of 700 industry bodies concerned with domestic energy efficiency...

...Project director Nicholas Doyle warned: 'For thousands of people, the prospect of a warm and comfortable home is now a luxury that they cannot afford. The stark reality is that many people from low-income backgrounds are now faced with the choice of deciding whether to heat their home or provide for their family...

...Charities have drawn a clear link between rising power bills, fuel poverty and deaths of pensioners. The number of deaths between December 2005 and March 2006 exceeded the non-winter average by 25,700. Age Concern believes a significant number were hastened by cold, with elderly people worried about the cost of using their heating...
Hat tip: Iain Murray at Open Market

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:21 AM

Friday, March 23, 2007

Fighting Environmentalists to Use DDT to Fight Malaria in Africa

Writing for The Heartland Institute, National Center Senior Fellow Bonner Cohen takes a look at the fight to restore the use of DDT to save lives in Africa:
Concerned about the rising number of deaths mosquito-borne malaria is inflicting on its citizens, the government of Uganda has approved the use of the pesticide DDT to combat the deadly disease.

The decision, handed down in January, marks the end of a protracted conflict that pitted public health officials, who overwhelmingly favor the use of DDT, against environmental activists and corporate agricultural exporters, who oppose it.

Frustrated by the inability of other measures to stem the dreaded disease, which kills an estimated 100,000 Ugandans each year, officials at the country's National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) will permit DDT to be sprayed in residences, where the chemical's unique properties irritate, repel, and poison mosquitoes while doing no harm to humans or animals.

Uganda's decision is contingent on approval from international authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the secretariat of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), and the Rotterdam Convention.

DDT was last used in Uganda 46 years ago by WHO. It successfully controlled the spread of malaria in Kamungu province in the western region of the country. Uganda was one of many malaria-prone countries where the use of DDT brought the killer disease to the brink of eradication.

With the help of DDT, the global malaria death rate -- which had been 1,740 deaths per million in 1930 -- dropped more than 70 percent, to 480 per million in 1950.

Since Uganda stopped using DDT, however, malaria has ravaged the country. Government officials have decided to rebuff environmental activists and once again use it to combat malaria.

Niger Innis, spokesman for the U.S. branch of the Congress of Racial Equality, said, "Environmentalists always claim to be stakeholders. But every day that they succeed in delaying the use of DDT and other insecticides, another 3,000 to 5,000 people die from malaria. Those victims and the half billion who get this disease every year, who lie in bed shaking with convulsions, who can't work or go to school, who end up with permanent brain damage from malaria--they are the real stakeholders. It's their views that count."

"The World Health Organization reviewed decades of scientific studies and concluded that spraying DDT on the inside walls of houses is perfectly safe for people and the environment," added Paul Driessen, senior policy advisor of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

"More importantly," Driessen continued, "there is simply no substitute for it, at any price. Sprayed just once or twice a year, it keeps 90 percent of mosquitoes from even entering homes, irritates the ones that do enter, so they don't bite, kills those that land, and reduces malaria rates by 75 percent or more."

Despite the hurdles posed by the need for approval by international organizations, the rehabilitation of DDT as an effective weapon against malaria continues apace...
Read the rest here.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:59 PM

The Human Cost of Climate Change Policies

Do environmental regulations, such as those proposed to fight "global warming," have a human cost?

At Tuesday’s climate change hearing before the Energy and Mineral Resources Committee of the U.S. House Resources Committee, Robert E. Murray of the Murray Energy Corporation pushed aside the usual arguments about climate change to focus on an angle too-little covered: The price Americans will pay in jobs and economic welfare, should the policy recommendations of those who urge us to "fight global warming" with massive new federal regulations be followed.

Some excerpts from his testimony (pdf):
I am Bob Murray, the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Murray Energy Corporation ("Murray Energy"), which I founded from a mortgaged home about twenty (20) years ago. Today, Murray Energy operates eleven (11) coal mines in the most economically depressed areas of Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Utah, which produce thirty-two million (32,000,000) tons of high quality coal per year for America's electric utilities, with about three thousand (3,000) employees. Current studies show that up to eleven (11) secondary jobs are created to provide the goods and services required by our miners. Thus, I am proud of the fact that we are advised that we have created up to 36,000 high-paying, well-benefited jobs in our Country since our inception in May, 1988…

… [The company’s employees] and I are very threatened and troubled by the so-called "global warming" or carbon emission constraint measures that have been introduced into the Congress that will ration the use of coal, with much worse adverse consequences to our American citizens than those that I have already experienced in my lifetime as a result of enactment of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment legislation.

You see, so-called "global warming" is a human issue to me, not just an environmental one. The unfolding debate over atmospheric warming in the Congress, the news media, and by the pundits has been skewed and totally one-sided, in that they have been preoccupied with possible, speculative environmental disasters of climate change. However, few are giving adequate attention to the destruction that we will definitely see for American working people from all of the climate change proposals that have been introduced in the House and Senate to date.

Today low cost electricity is a staple of life for all Americans, and fifty-two percent (52%) of this electricity is generated from coal. Further, coal-fired electricity is, by far, the lowest cost -- about one-fourth (1/4) to one-third (1/3) of the cost of natural gas-fired electricity.

Moreover, the Energy Information Agency states that our electricity consumption in America will rise forty-one percent (41%) between now and 2030. It is projected that, over the next twenty (20) years or so, coal must be counted on to generate fifty-seven percent (57%) of America's electricity, which cannot be replaced by any other form of generation -- not natural gas, nuclear, or water, and certainly not renewables.

America is dependent on our coal because it is abundant, with some of our best deposits located on public lands; it is affordable; and it is critical to our energy security to protect all Americans from the hostile and unstable governments from which much of our Country's energy is currently imported.

While we have been losing high-paying manufacturing jobs in America to foreign countries, can you imagine the havoc that will be wrought on our Country as a result of curbing coal's use, or destroying its potential as a vital domestic fuel, which every single piece of legislation introduced in the Congress to date does, by slapping mandatory controls on carbon dioxide emissions and United States coal utilization? Draconian legislation, such as the McCain/Lieberman or Bingaman Bills, would thoughtlessly impose arbitrary caps on the use of coal, despite the destructive implications to our economy.

The West, where public lands dominate, is one of the regions where the twelve (12) Bills introduced to date to limit carbon dioxide emissions will inflict the maximum damage and destruction to human lives. High wage employment and concomitant benefits, local tax revenues, and the standards of living for our people will be brutally wiped out in many of our western communities, notwithstanding the implications against strengthening America's energy independence. All of the so-called "global warming" Bills introduced to date will throw the prospects for our citizens and their economies in a spiraling reverse. It is a human issue to me, as I know by name many of the thousands of persons whose lives will be destroyed from the current deceitful, hysterical, out of control, rampage perpetrated by fear-mongers in our society and some legislators to mandate carbon dioxide emission limits.

While some want us to believe that the science behind so-called "global warming" is certain, to the contrary, the actual environmental risk associated with carbon emissions is highly speculative. It is a fact, however, that every proposal introduced to date will provide a far more certain risk that carbon dioxide emission limits will destroy coal and manufacturing dependent communities and inflict great hardships on America's families…

…Some wealthy elitists in our Country, who cannot tell fact from fiction, can afford an Olympian detachment from the impacts of draconian climate change policy. For them, the jobs and dreams destroyed as a result will be nothing more than statistics and the cares of other people. These consequences are abstractions to them, but they are not to me, as I can name many of the thousands of the American citizens whose lives will be destroyed by these elitists' ill-conceived "global goofiness" campaigns.

Also, there are a number of companies that are promoting constraints on coal use to achieve greater profits and/or competitive advantages, which transparent motivations are not in the best interests of Americans. These, in part, include Excelon, Entergy, British Petroleum, Shell Oil, Caterpillar, Alcoa, Dupont and General Electric.

You see, ladies and gentlemen, I have seen the effect of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, the drastic reductions in coal production, and wrenching impact on hundreds of communities as a result of that legislation. In Ohio alone, from 1990 to 2005, about one hundred eighteen (118) mines were shut down, costing more than thirty-six thousand (36,000) primary and secondary jobs. These impacted areas have spent years recovering, and some never will. Families broke up, many lost homes, some were impoverished, because of legislation that the environmentalists call a "success." Again, I did not learn of this havoc from computer models. I lived it and saw it firsthand.

Now, we are glibly discussing mandatory carbon emission reductions, which will have far more sweeping and far deeper reductions in coal production, and will reek much greater economic carnage and reductions in the quality of life and standard of living of many Americans, than the Clean Air Act Amendments. But, the destruction from limiting coal use will not stop there. Natural gas costs will rise, further damaging the agricultural and chemical industries, and the loss of American manufacturing jobs, which depend on low cost electricity, will be accelerated.

Also, the adverse impacts on the economy's jobs and quality of life will not be equal throughout the Country. Rather, the States that depend on coal-fired electricity will be damaged the greatest. Every State in our Country has a "target" on its back from proposed "global warming" legislation, except those on the West Coast and in New England, where much of the hysteria for draconian legislation is originating, and which States already pay the most for their electricity, many twice as much, as shown in the attachment to my testimony.

What will the world-wide environmental gain be from the pain that will be suffered on millions of American citizens? The answer is, very little…

The so-called Kyoto Treaty commitments by other countries have been a farce. European Union nations, with no population growth, have increased their emissions faster than the United States which has had a one percent (1%) population growth. Canadian emissions have increased twenty-eight percent (28%) since it signed the Kyoto Treaty, and only two (2) of the signatories thereto have achieved their emission reduction commitments….

…We urge all Members of this Committee and their colleagues in the Congress to consider carefully the impact that climate change Bills will have, not only on the environment, but on the American people, too. This is a human issue as well as an environmental one.
Read it all here (pdf).

Note: In coming days, over a series of posts, I intend to reprint excerpts of testimony from a few of the key witnesses at the several Congressional hearings on climate change that took place this week. This is in part to create a permanent Internet archive of some of the more compelling testimonies given. Regrettably, Congress cannot be relied upon to maintain the archives of its committee's websites, including copies of the formal written testimonies it solicited from witnesses and posted online during past Congresses.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:15 AM

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