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Entries in CEI (1226)

Tuesday
Apr152014

CEI Today: Dodd-Frank ruling, chemicals & bees, and EPA captured

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
In the News Today

DODD-FRANK LOST IN COURT - JOHN BERLAU


Openmarket.org: First Ever Constitutional Ruling against Dodd-Frank Voids Destructive “Conflict Minerals” Section


Monday’s ruling of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that Dodd-Frank’s “conflict minerals” disclosure mandate violates the First Amendment is the first time ever a court has ruled that a provision of Dodd-Frank violates the Constitution. And it couldn’t happen to a more misguided and destructive provision of the law!

The conflict disclosure mandate creates a compliance nightmare, hurts American miners and manufacturers, and does the greatest harm to those it was intended to help — the struggling worker in and nearby the Democratic Republic of Congo.
> Read more

> Interview John Berlau

CHEMICAL BANS & HONEYBEE HEALTH - ANGELA LOGOMASINI

Openmarket.org: Encouraging News about Honeybee Health


A recently released study in Europe reports some good news about honeybee health, which should prompt public officials to reexamine a recent ban on some agricultural products. This latest study adds another wrinkle to the debate, indicating that the problem is not as widespread as people think, and that other factors are in play, such as cold weather. It underscores why we need to continue to study the issue rather than push rash and unhelpful bans. > Read more

> Interview Angela Logomasini

CAPTURING THE EPA - WILLIAM YEATMAN

Globalwarming.org: Matthew Dowd, Meet the EPA


Green groups like the Sierra Club and NRDC have “captured” EPA, in the same way that industry was thought to have done to regulators in the 1960s. These environmental organizations spend significant resources on getting their preferred candidates elected. In return, they enjoy political spoils. The most conspicuous manifestation of this capture is the continuously revolving door between the non-profit, public (i.e., EPA), and private “green” sectors of the economy. > Read more


> Interview William Yeatman


Consumer’s Guide to
Chemical Risk


CEI‘s recently released booklet, A Consumer’s Guide to Chemical Risk: Deciphering the “Science” Behind Chemical Scares,” are tools designed reduce both the confusion and fear about chemicals. 
> Read more

CEI Podcast for April 9, 2014: A Consumer’s Guide to Chemical Risk

 

    

 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website, cei.org, and blogs, Globalwarming.org and OpenMarket.org.  Follow CEI on Twitter! Twitter.com/ceidotorg.

 


CEI President Lawson Bader
@libertynkilts

The rising class-war chorus

Saturdays, 10am ET
Realclearradio.org


*Tax Day Special*

Guests: Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, and Robert Reich, University of California, Berkeley Professor and former Secretary of Labor

CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

The Mazama pocket gopher is neither a threatened nor endangered species, but three of its subspecies are the unwitting recipients of more than 1,600 acres of critical habitat in Washington State.

 




Tuesday
Apr152014

CEI - Bogus science claims from White House prompt CEI request for correction

The White House got it wrong. But the good news is they have a chance to set the record straight.

The trouble started when the White House put out a two-minute video that included claims that recent cold spells in the U.S. are linked to global warming. CEI attorneys Sam Kazman and Hans Bader today filed a formal request under the Information Quality Act for the White House to correct the erroneous claims in question:

"In reality, as we explain below, the evidence (including the conclusions of peer-reviewed scholarly articles) indicates that the kind of extreme cold experienced in the United States this past winter is not linked to global warming."

For example: "[White House Science Advisor John] Holdren’s claim of 'a growing body of evidence' is contradicted by recent peer-reviewed studies. These studies find that that global warming is not leading to increased atmospheric winter blocking, much less causing an increase in winter cold waves or cold weather."

View a write up of the matter on Globalwarming.org and posted below, along with a link to the request letter. Let me know if you would like to speak to one of the attorneys about this issue, or perhaps forward to a colleague?

Best,
Christine
CEI Communications Director
202.331.2258


Globalwarming.org

Will Cherry Blossoms Get Sucked into the Polar Vortex?
By Sam Kazman


DC’s cherry trees hit their official peak blossom date last Thursday, April 10th.  That’s the latest in the year that the Capital has experienced peak blossoming in over two decades.  (For you botanical historians, the last time that peak blossoming occurred this late or later was in 1993, when the event fell on April 11.)

In 2013 the blossoms were almost as late, hitting their peak on April 9.  That was a pretty dramatic change from 2012, when the date fell on March 20. This change was most disconcerting to two groups: tourists trying to plan their trips to DC in advance, and global warming alarmists who trumpeted every earlier-than-expected cherry blossom as yet further proof of global warming.  In fact, in a sizzling multi-part blog post series last year, followed by dozens of readers, we charted peak blossom dates against global warming data.  We even had graphs.  (See Adam Sandberg, Peak Bloom Is Here – DC’s Global Warming Canary Lands with Frost on its Feet, April 15, 2013.)

The past two years of unusually late blooms largely resulted from unusually cold weather.  But unusually cold weather, in the view of White House Science Advisor John Holdren, is actually yet another sign of global warming.  Holdren explained this to a freezing yet grateful nation in a two-minute video last January entitled The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes.

We suspect that Holdren’s agency, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), may now have a second video in the works in this Blame-Everything-On-Global-Warming series.  Perhaps they’ll call it Delayed Peak Blossoming Explained in 2 Minutes.

Regardless, we think Holdren’s first video is scientifically bogus, and so today we’re filing a formal Information Quality Act Correction Request with OSTP on that very issue.  Who knows—we may yet nip this video series in the bud.

Monday
Apr142014

CEI Today: Cherry blossoms + global warming, lawmakers v. EPA, and the WaPo on illegal carbon pollution standard 

Monday, April 14, 2014
In the News Today

CHERRY BLOSSOMS + GLOBAL WARMING - SAM KAZMAN


Globalwarming.org: Will Cherry Blossoms Get Sucked into the Polar Vortex?


DC’s cherry trees hit their official peak blossom date last Thursday, April 10th.  That’s the latest in the year that the Capital has experienced peak blossoming in over two decades.  

Unusually cold weather, in the view of White House Science Advisor John Holdren, is actually yet another sign of global warming.  Holdren explained this to a freezing yet grateful nation in a two-minute video. Today, CEI is filing a formal Information Quality Act Correction Request with OSTP on that very issue. 
> Read more

> Interview Sam Kazman

SENATORS VS EPA - MYRON EBELL

Globalwarming.org: Senators Sessions and Inhofe Come Out Swinging against EPA


Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) announced at an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing last week on the nomination of Janet McCabe to be assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for air and radiation that he couldn’t vote to confirm McCabe if she insists on denying the conclusion of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that there is no historic trend in the incidence and severity of tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons). 

Climate Progress, an especially deranged outpost of the ironically-named Center for American Progress’s Think Progress web site, immediately accused Sen. Sessions of opposing McCabe “because she accepts climate science.” > Read more

> Interview Myron Ebell

EPA'S CARBON POLLUTION STANDARD

Globalwarming.org: WaPo Wonkblog Makes Case that EPA’s Carbon Pollution Standard Is Illegal

 

On Friday, Washington Post Wonkblog published a notable article about “clean coal.” Reporter Max Ehrenfreund wrote that carbon capture and sequestration is “exorbitantly” costly. This modifier is supremely apt; it is the exact word chosen by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals* to describe an impermissible requirement pursuant to the provision of the Clean Air Act that authorizes the aforementioned Carbon Pollution Standard. As such, if the costs of carbon capture and sequestration are in fact “exorbitant,” then the regulation is illegal. > Read more


> Interview William Yeatman


Consumer’s Guide to
Chemical Risk


CEI‘s recently released booklet, A Consumer’s Guide to Chemical Risk: Deciphering the “Science” Behind Chemical Scares,” are tools designed reduce both the confusion and fear about chemicals. 
> Read more

CEI Podcast for April 9, 2014: A Consumer’s Guide to Chemical Risk

 

    

 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website, cei.org, and blogs, Globalwarming.org and OpenMarket.org.  Follow CEI on Twitter! Twitter.com/ceidotorg.

 


CEI President Lawson Bader
@libertynkilts

The rising class-war chorus

Saturdays, 10am ET
Realclearradio.org


Tax Day Special


Guests: Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, and Robert Reich, University of California, Berkeley Professor and former Secretary of Labor

ANNOUNCING
CEI’s Iain Murray Wins Second Place at
Brexit Prize Competition in London

 




Saturday
Apr122014

CEI Today: Nontransparency in gov't and the Paycheck Fairness Act

Thursday, April 10, 2014
In the News Today

GOV'T TRANSPARENCY - CHRIS HORNER

Administration’s Lack of Transparency Extends to States; The Independence Institute Reports New Findings


The use of non-official email accounts for work purposes circumvents federal-recordkeeping responsibilities. Since employees have chosen to not search them in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests or congressional oversight requests, this allows government officials to avoid revealing their actions to taxpayers who finance their salaries. These corrupt practices are not isolated to the federal government. In requests the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), assisted Colorado’s Independence Institute with, we show the practice extends to activists employed in state government. > Read more

Related:
Transparency Questions Arise Over Hickenlooper Administration’s Use of Private Emails

 

Hickenlooper Administration Sought EPA Alibi on 2012 Water Bill


> Interview Chris Horner

FEDERAL REGULATIONS - WAYNE CREWS


Fox News: Critics say 'transparent' administration anything but open about federal regulations


Federal agencies are required to report all the regulatory actions they have under consideration in what's known as the Unified Agenda twice a year. In addition, the White House Office of Management and Budget is mandated to provide a cost-benefit analysis of federal regulations to Congress each year.

According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute and American Action Forum, that has not been happening. Wayne Crews, CEI's vice president for policy, says, "This is the administration that claims transparency but on the other hand, says it's going to use its pens and its phones and it's gonna work around Congress at every opportunity."
> Read the news story by Shannon Bream

> Interview Wayne Crews

PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT

CEI’s WorkplaceChoice.org Scores Paycheck Fairness Act

 

The Competitive Enterprise Institute scored Wednesday’s vote in the U.S. Senate on the passage of S. 3772, The Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would fundamentally change the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits employers from paying women less than men for performing the same work in the same workplace.


The score will be incorporated into CEI’s Congressional Labor Scorecard that can be seen in full on CEI’s labor policy website, WorkplaceChoice.org. > Read more

> Interview an expert


Consumer’s Guide to
Chemical Risk


CEI‘s recently released booklet, A Consumer’s Guide to Chemical Risk: Deciphering the “Science” Behind Chemical Scares,” are tools designed reduce both the confusion and fear about chemicals. 
> Read more

CEI Podcast for April 9, 2014: A Consumer’s Guide to Chemical Risk

 

    

 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website, cei.org, and blogs, Globalwarming.org and OpenMarket.org.  Follow CEI on Twitter! Twitter.com/ceidotorg.

 

ANNOUNCING
CEI’s Iain Murray Wins Second Place at
Brexit Prize Competition in London

Saturdays, 10am ET
Realclearradio.org

 

A Moral Defense of Capitalism
 
Interview with Devout humanist, Catholic priest, and social justice advocate Father Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute.

 




Saturday
Apr122014

Cooler Heads Digest 11 April 2014 

11 April 2014

In the News

Walton Jones on the Social Cost of Carbon
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 10 April 2014

Let’s Do What We Do Best: Oil & Gas
Edward Cross, Hays Daily News, 10 April 2014

EPA’s Lack of Transparency Extends to States
Chris Horner, Open Market, 9 April 2014

If You Think Sky Is Falling, Check Out the Prophecies of the 1970s
Michael Barone, Washington Examiner, 9 April 2014

Let’s Talk about Energy Inequality
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 8 April 2014

How Climate Change Conquered the American Campus
Paul Tice, Wall Street Journal, 7 April 2014

The Game Is Up for Climate Change Zealots
Charles Moore, The Telegraph, 6 April 2014

The Spread of “Debate Is Over” Syndrome
Joel Kotkin, Orange County Register, 4 April 2014

News You Can Use
President Hindering Oil and Gas Development on Federal Lands

Despite the oil and gas boom unleashed by hydraulic fracturing, federally issued drilling permits last year dropped to their lowest level in more than a decade, according to new data from the Bureau of Land Management. Since President Obama took office, total federal oil production has declined 7.8 percent and federal natural gas production has declined 21 percent.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Eleven Senate Democrats Urge Obama To Act on Keystone

Eleven Democratic Senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama this week urging him to make a final decision on whether to permit the Keystone XL Pipeline no later than 31st May.  Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana initiated the letter.  Other signers were Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mark Warner of Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, John Walsh of Montana, and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.

Six of these Democrats—Landrieu, Begich, Pryor, Warner, Walsh, and Hagan— are running for re-election in November, and most of them face serious challenges from pro-energy Republicans.  Interestingly, Senator Mark Udall of Colorado did not sign the letter, even though he is running and his Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, is focusing on Keystone and other energy issues.

Asked about the letter at a White House press conference, Obama spokesman Jay Carney replied, “Our position on that process hasn’t changed, which is that it needs to run its appropriate course without interference from the White House or Congress.”  The process to which Carney refers is the State Department deliberation on whether the pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf refineries is in the national interest.  State’s very lengthy environmental impact analysis concluded earlier this year that there were no major environmental issues.     

Sen. Landrieu, the new chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, responded to Carney’s brush-off by announcing that she may move a bill to permit Keystone. The House of Representatives has passed similar legislation several times. My guess is that President Obama will keep trying to delay the pipeline to death.  That’s because he’s more interested in his own interests than in the national interest, and his own interests are more in maintaining good relations with billionaire Democratic donors, such as Tom Steyer, than in maintaining good U. S.-Canada relations.      

EPA Releases Strategic Vision

The Environmental Protection Agency released its 2014-18 strategic plan on Thursday, 10th April.   EPA’s top priority is addressing climate change and improving air quality.  One possibly significant change is that the agency intends to focus more on the largest polluters (including emitters of carbon dioxide, which EPA defines as a pollutant, and producers of fossil fuels) in order to achieve the largest reductions in pollution levels. Otherwise, I see few changes or surprises in a relentlessly misguided and depressing document. 

Senators Sessions and Inhofe Come Out Swinging against EPA

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) announced at an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing this week on the nomination of Janet McCabe to be assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for air and radiation that he couldn’t vote to confirm McCabe if she insists on denying the conclusion of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that there is no historic trend in the incidence and severity of tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons).  Here’s the video clip:

Climate Progress, an especially deranged outpost of the ironically-named Center for American Progress’s Think Progress web site, immediately accused Sen. Sessions of opposing McCabe “because she accepts climate science.” 

At the same hearing, Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), former chairman of the committee, announced that he will start offering resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act for every new EPA air regulation until the agency starts doing ongoing economic and employment assessments for all Clean Air Act regulations on an economy-wide basis.  Such assessments seem to be required by Section 321 (a) of the Clean Air Act, but the EPA has always (during previous Republican and Democratic administrations as well as the current administration) limited its analyses to the economic effects of only the facilities directly regulated. 

According to an article in Environment and Energy Daily, Sen. Inhofe’s intention in requiring CRA votes on the Senate floor is to put Senators on record as to whether they support economically-damaging rules.  He has also introduced a bill, S. 2161, along with 30 co-sponsors, to correct the EPA’s interpretation of Section 321(a).  Murray Energy has filed a suit in federal court to compel the EPA to analyze the economy-wide employment effects of Clean Air rules. 

Across the States
Marlo Lewis

California: Greens Reject Carbon Tax for Cap Swap

“California’s Senate majority leader is backing away from a controversial proposal to replace part of the state’s cap-and-trade system with a tax on greenhouse gases,” Climatewire (subscription required) reports.

In February, State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D) introduced legislation to impose a carbon tax on transportation fuels. The tax would start at $15 per ton and increase to $50 per ton by 2030. Steinberg claimed that a carbon tax would give Californians greater certainty about fuel prices than is possible under the State’s cap-and-trade program.

Environmental groups “immediately opposed” the plan. A Natural Resources Defense Council spokesman explained: "It's critical to keep our largest-emitting sectors subject to mandatory carbon pollution limits for the state to meet its near- and long-term climate goals.” Steinberg this week canceled a scheduled committee hearing on the bill.

More evidence of what should already be obvious: the green movement has no interest in swapping mandates, regulations, and cap-and-trade for a carbon tax.

Around the World
William Yeatman

Japan Bows to Reality, Turns to Coal

Nearly three years ago, in the immediate wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, the Japanese government announced a bold energy plan that would replace nuclear power with renewables. Notably, the plan failed to articulate how Japan would achieve this goal.

Nuclear, hydropower, and coal are reliable, which is why they serve as ‘base-load’ electricity generators. That is, they run 24 hours a day, and are taken offline only for maintenance. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar power are intermittent and expensive. As such, it would be a tall order for Japan to replace nuclear with renewables.

Yesterday, the Japanese government approved a new energy plan that recognizes that coal-fired electricity is “an important base-load source.” Renewable energy targets were conspicuously absent. Two weeks ago, Japanese utilities announced that they were certain to build 3,500 megawatts of coal-fired electricity capacity, and possibly 7,000 megawatts more.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Is Ocean Acidification a Crisis?

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D.-R.I.) once castigated “climate deniers” for ducking the issue of ocean acidification, claiming skeptics “ignore facts they cannot explain away.”

The term “acidification” is a bit loaded and rhetorical. Although ocean pH has declined from about 8.2 to 8.1 over the past 200 years, there’s no danger of it decreasing to below 7.0 – the pH of neutral water. “De-alkalization” might be a more accurate way of describing the effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on ocean chemistry.

Be that as it may, in a rebuttal to Sen. Whitehouse, I noted that CO2Science.Org, one of the oldest and most prominent skeptic blogs, hosts an extensive (and growing) ocean acidification database, and regularly reviews new scientific research on the topic.

This week on CO2Science.Org, chief blogger Craig Idso posts a 5,700-word essay reviewing 17 field studies of changing ocean pH levels, coral calcification rates, and coral health.

Much of the alarm over ocean acidification is based on short-term laboratory exposure studies. Field studies, notes Idso, “more aptly represent conditions in the real world, many of which conditions are impossible or impractical to incorporate into a laboratory setting.” Here are results from three of the studies reviewed.

Bessat and Buigues (2001) found that, instead of the 6-14% decline in calcification rates predicted by a prominent laboratory study, calcification rates in massive Porites corals in French Polynesia increased during 1801-1990.

Meron et al. (2012) examined two coral species off the coast of Naples, Italy, where CO2 from underwater volcanic vents produces a natural decline in pH levels. The researchers found that the “corals present at the lower pH sites exhibited only minor physiological changes,” and that “no microbial pathogens were detected.”

Similarly, Noonan et al. (2013) examined six scleractinian coral species exposed to elevated CO2 concentrations from volcanic “seeps” near Papua New Guinea. Dissolved CO2 concentrations were 28%-88% higher than in adjacent control areas. Nonetheless, the six species “were all able to not only survive, but to function well throughout the full range of CO2-induced pH values to which they had been exposed throughout their entire life spans,” Idso writes.

For a more extensive review of the literature on acidification and impacts on marine plants and animals, Idso’s chapter on aquatic life in the just-released report Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts.

The Cooler Heads Digest is the weekly e-mail publication of the Cooler Heads Coalition. For the latest news and commentary, check out the Coalition’s website, www.GlobalWarming.org.