“Obviously, nobody wants dirty air, but the American Lung Association’s knee-jerk renewables advocacy is mainly emotional and not grounded in fact.”
Last month, New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) disapproved Antrim Wind, a 30-megawatt wind energy facility proposed along a remote and environmentally sensitive ridgeline in rural Antrim, NH. After eleven days of evidentiary hearings and three days of public deliberations, the Committee ruled that the ten monster turbines, each standing 492-feet tall, would pose a significant impact on aesthetics with no satisfactory means of mitigating the effect.
The Committee’s ruling surprised New England wind proponents who wasted no time calling the decision a serious setback for clean energy and urging the SEC to reconsider its decision.
Among those objecting was the American Lung Association. In a letter to the SEC, Edward Miller, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the American Lung Association in the Northeast, wrote: [Read more →]
June 19, 2013 No Comments
“Contrast West Virginia’s ridgeline wind turbines to a single fracking site hosting a dozen or more underground wells. Those wellheads produce ’round the clock, something that wind proponents cannot honestly claim. Not even all those the lawyers of the Southern Environmental Law Center can make the wind turbines regularly spin.”
The City of Charlottesville, VA is home to some notable landmarks, which include Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, and his university, the University of Virginia. It is also home to the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), whose mission is “to use the power of the law to protect the environment of the Southeast.”
Under the Case Summary for “Fracking in the Southwest,” the SELC notes:
The drilling technique known as “fracking” is widely used around the country to extract natural gas from deep shale deposits. Notoriously linked to flaming water taps and contaminated streams and groundwater in the Northeast and out West, hydraulic fracturing has recently emerged as a looming environmental threat in the Southeast…As pressure mounts to tap into southeastern shale deposits, SELC is working on multiple fronts in our six states to prevent fracking in special natural areas like our national forests….
The latest SELC anti-fracking diatribe was authored by Carl Jaffe, director of the Charlottesville office, and published in the May 28-June 3, 2013 issue of the local weekly C-Ville. He mentioned–but did not specifically document–concern over drinking-water pollution, methane leakage, impacts on forests, and recreational opportunities. In response, I submitted the following letter-to-the-editor to C-Ville (V.25, No. 23, not online: scan available from author): [Read more →]
June 18, 2013 4 Comments
“It is difficult to overestimate Jon [Wellinghoff]‘s impact on the electricity industry in recent years — or for that matter in the years to come.”
-Dan Delurey, Executive Director of the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid
As the administrative head of an agency with approximately 1,500 employees and a $300+ million budget, the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sets the priorities of an otherwise fairly independent agency.  Current Chairman Jon Wellinghoff recently informed the Obama administration he would not seek an additional term, ending a seven-year stay as Commissioner (2006–09) and as Chairman (2009–2013).
Wellinghoff was appointed a FERC Commissioner in 2006 by President Bush, largely on the support of Harry Reid, his fellow Nevadan and ally in the Senate. With Reid’s continued support and a staunchly pro-renewable record at FERC, Wellinghoff was promoted by President Obama from Commissioner to FERC Chairman in 2009.
Throughout his FERC career, as in his earlier career, Wellinghoff consistently advocated for more demand response and more renewable energy investment, including a new influx of transmission projects largely devoted to integrating wind projects.
Unfortunately, his futurist predictions about an inevitable and necessary “green” transition and his technocratic plans to effect such a change are misguided. He also stands as a key example of how the Obama administration has attempted sweeping policy shifts without legislative help by channeling efforts through federal agencies. For better or worse, the FERC Chairman does wield power, and Wellinghoff has not wielded it well.
June 17, 2013 3 Comments
Windaction.org’s periodic newsletter keeps readers updated on the latest news in the wind energy industry!
facts, analysis, exposure of wind energy’s real impacts
June 14, 2013 by Laura Zuckerman in Reuters
Removal ordered for turbines
June 14, 2013 by Bob Boughner in Chatham Daily News
Boards vote to shut turbines down at night. Give developer 30 days to fix noise
June 13, 2013 by Peggy Aulisio in South Coast Today
CA wind facilities want permits that will allow them to harm eagles
June 13, 2013 by Chris Clarke in ReWire
June 13, 2013 by Danica Kirka in Associated Press
June 15, 2013 1 Comment
[Ed. note: North Dakota registered $25.3 billion in taxable economic activity 2012, a 29 percent increase from 2011. The major reason for this economic boom is described below.]
Any discussion of the revolution in U.S. upstream technology and its impact on the U.S. energy balance must include the Bakken play, centered in North Dakota but also reaching into Montana and Canada. It’s no wonder. It has raised North Dakota to the number two state after Texas in U.S. crude oil production.
Now at more than 700,000 barrels per day and still growing, North Dakota’s crude oil production accounts for 11 percent of the domestic total, and is contributing to the strongest economic growth and strongest employment of any state. Here we revisit the Bakken to fill in more details for the play that serves as the forerunner and icon of the tight oil revolution.
Geology & Geography
The Williston Basin is a large sedimentary basin that straddles the U.S./Canadian border and encompasses portions of northern South Dakota, western North Dakota, eastern Montana and northward into southern Saskatchewan. Over geologic time, many sedimentary layers accumulated in the greater Williston Basin. Among these layers are the Bakken Formation and several other significant and potentially emerging productive oil zones or formations. [Read more →]
June 14, 2013 3 Comments
“How much oil seeps out from the ocean floor — and into the environment — around the Santa Barbara area? SOS California identifies offshore Santa Barbara as having “the second largest marine oil seeps in the world.” Centered around an area referred to as Coal Oil Point, some 10,000 gallons of crude oil seep from approximately 1,200 fissures in the ocean floor in any given 24-hour period.”
- Sylvia Cochran, “Natural Oil Seeps Harm Birds off California Coast, March 8, 2012.
This April 25, 2013 Wall Street Journal article, “Chilly North Sea Comes Back to Life: New Technology Is Set to Liberate Natural Gas That for 25 Years Was Trapped Beneath Sea Floor,” tells the story of significant advances in deep sea drilling technologies.
If companies can discover, drill, and deliver oil from stormy North Sea locations, why can’t firms similarly find and drill oil from Santa Barbara and other offshore California oil fields?
But environmentalists, as well as average citizens, fear offshore oil spills and oil-drenched sea birds–and that gets back to the Santa Barbara oil spill (1969), the third largest in history after the Deepwater Horizon (2010) and Exxon Valdez (1989) spills.
Natural Oil Seeps
Yes, it is a tragedy when seabirds and other animals are caught in manmade oil spills. But what about natural oil seeps? [Read more →]
June 13, 2013 3 Comments
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Power is ever stealing from the many to the few.”
- Wendell Phillips (1852)
Government wealth transfers from the many to the few is called the concentrated benefits, diffuse costs problem. Certain companies and projects get the loot–one hundred cents on the dollar–while the rest of us (taxpayers) pay an incalculable fraction per redistributionist dollar.
Democracy is perverted too because the majority would say “no” if directly asked but are far too busy tending to their own (nonpolitical) lives. Michael Giberson found this in a 1935 book explaining the passage of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1932:
Although . . . theoretically the interests supporting and opposed to legislation . . . are approximately equal, the pressures upon Congress are extremely unbalanced. That is to say, the pressures supporting the tariff are made overwhelming by the fact that the opposition is negligible.
And so the common-good side must mobilize to expose such exploitation that naturally occurs in a mixed economy where organized interests infest government.
Big Government Energy (BGE)
Government goes to those who show up. BGE–wind power, on-grid solar, ethanol, and battery/EVs–are camped in Washington. They are decades into the rent-seeking game because their goods (bads?) depend on it.
That is why their millions of dollars of loot must be tracked and exposed. Enter www.energysubsidies.org, just launched by the Institute for Energy Research (IER) to allow policymakers, government officials, researchers, journalists, and the general public to get the factual story of taxpayer-funded energy subsidies, including federal loan guarantees, grants, and various tax credits. [Read more →]
June 12, 2013 4 Comments
“What we ask for is a more rigorous education on energy and environmental issues. Today’s students do not learn even basic facts about the energy sources that make our civilization possible. But they are encouraged to take strong policy positions on the basis of extremely speculative predictions by individuals and institutions who falsely claim to represent the conclusions of all informed scientists.”
Dear American Universities,
You have no doubt heard the calls by certain environmentalist groups for you to publicly divest your endowments of any investments in the fossil fuel industry. We ask that you reject these calls as an attempt to silence legitimate debate about our energy and environmental future.
The leaders of the divestment movement say it is not debatable that the fossil fuel industry is “Public Enemy Number One”—that it deserves to be publicly humiliated by having America’s leading educational institutions single it out for divestment. But the divestment movement refuses to grapple with, let alone educate students about, the staggering, and arguably irreplaceable, benefits we derive from that industry. [Read more →]
June 11, 2013 7 Comments
“As long as the EPA continues to rely on assumptions about industry activity that are not, in fact, based on actual industry activity, their estimates for methane emissions will remain wrong. The fact that those assumptions result in inflated emissions estimates makes the agency’s conscious decision not to adjust its methods even more troubling.”
Last month, the EPA released its latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory, in which the agency significantly lowered its estimate of the amount of methane emissions from natural gas systems. But even with those dramatic revisions, EPA still has a long way to go to get this right.
In its fact sheet about its changes to methane emissions estimates, EPA admits that at least some of its prior methods for collecting emissions data were flawed:
The study data show that there is more widespread use of emissions control technologies than had been assumed in the previous Inventory. It also demonstrated that duration of emissions from liquids unloading activities is shorter than had been assumed in the previous Inventory.
The key word here is “assumed.” While EPA’s current revisions are certainly an improvement and bring its estimates closer to accuracy, there are still a number of assumptions that are simply wrong. Digging deeper, and frankly speaking, it’s difficult to ascertain anything other than a fundamental lack of understanding of the actual development process. [Read more →]
June 10, 2013 No Comments
“It’s not unlawful to run an ad hominem presidency. It’s merely shameful. The great rhetorical specialty of this president has been his unrelenting attribution of bad faith to those who disagree with him. He acts on principle; they from the basest of instincts.”
- Charles Krauthammer, “There’s a Fly in My Soup,” Washington Post, May 23, 2013.
The alarmist/statist side of the energy/environmental debate is losing intellectually and now politically. The agenda of inferior energies simply cannot stand up to a combination of analytic failure, government failure, and real-world realities. The oil and gas boom … the cessation of global warming; improving air and water quality … alternative energy busts ….
And as the alarmists have become ever more argumentative and shrill, even (former) allies and sympathizers are seeing a quasi-religious, nonintellectual, even ugly aspect to the Climate Progress view of the world.
In short, climate alarmism and government-forced energy transformation is in real trouble.
Smears and Jeers: All You Got?
Guilt-by-association and ad hominem argumentation are in full force (as in a recent professor-versus politician debate on climate-change public policy). And so it was when Elliott Negin of the Union of Concerned Scientists portrayed the Institute for Energy Research (IER) and its advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance (AEA), as “a front organization for the oil and gas industry.” His Huffington Post piece was titled: “Unreliable Sources: How the Media Help the Kochs and ExxonMobil Spread Climate Disinformation.”
June 7, 2013 1 Comment