Archive for the ‘Environmentalism & Global Warming’ Category
Sestak, Solyndra, Pigford, Fast & Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting, AP phone records, HHS soliciting funds, and now the revelation of EPA double standards.
With this administration it’s just one lawless scandal after another. When will the American people finally say ENOUGH!?
The IRS may not be the only federal agency singling out conservative groups. Records suggest that the Environmental Protection Agency has made it easier for environmental groups to file Freedom of Information Act requests than conservative organizations.
According to EPA records obtained by the free market Competitive Enterprise Institute, since January 2012 the agency has granted fee waivers for 75 out of 82 Freedom of Information Act Requests sent by major environmental groups, denying only seven of them — meaning green groups saw their fees waived 92 percent of the time.
At the same time, the EPA frequently denied fee waivers to conservative groups. EPA records show that the agency rejected or ignored 21 out of 26 fee waiver requests from such conservative groups as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Institute for Energy Research, and Judicial Watch — an 81 percent rejection rate.
[...] “This is as clear an example of disparate treatment as the IRS hurdles selectively imposed upon groups with names ominously reflecting an interest in, say, a less intrusive or biased federal government,” said CEI senior fellow Chris Horner, author of “The Liberal War on Transparency.”
Horner described the EPA’s actions as “a clear pattern of favoritism for allied groups and “a concerted campaign to make life more difficult for those deemed unfriendly.”
This kind of favoritism springs from a worldview. The EPA that authored this bias was the same EPA led by Lisa Jackson. She left office last year amid her own scandal involving the use of personal, secret email accounts to conduct agency business — the “Richard Windsor” scandal.
It’s time to ask a serious question. In light of the IRS targeting conservatives and the EPA denying conservatives at the same time, do liberals even believe that conservatives are due fair treatment under the law?
The EPA has become an unaccountable, tyrannical weapon wielded by unelected bureaucrats to abuse unconstitutional powers to advance their agenda.
It’s time for the EPA to be abolished, along with every other agency that doesn’t fall under the specific, enumerated powers granted in the constitution to the federal government.
In Europe, “green” policies to eliminate nuclear and coal power for “green” alternatives worked so well that desperate Greeks and Germans resorted to stealing firewood from local forests to keep warm this winter.
Sadly, it doesn’t appear that Obama’s nominee has learned from their mistake. He insists that skyrocketing energy prices are just what we need to force people away from fossil fuels towards a gloriously “green,” utopian future:
President Obama’s Energy secretary nominee regards a carbon tax as one of the simplest ways to move the energy industry towards clean technologies, though he notes that government would have to come up with a plan to mitigate the burden this tax places on poor people, who would pay the most.
“Ultimately, it has to be cheaper to capture and store it than to release it and pay a price,” MIT professor and Energy nominee Ernest Moniz told the Switch Energy Project in an interview last year. “If we start really squeezing down on carbon dioxide over the next few decades, well, that could double; it could eventually triple. I think inevitably if we squeeze down on carbon, we squeeze up on the cost, it brings along with it a push toward efficiency; it brings along with it a push towards clean technologies in a conventional pollution sense; it brings along with it a push towards security. Because after all, the security issues revolve around carbon bearing fuels.”
Moniz position is not far from that of Energy Secretary Steven Chu before he took a job in the Obama administration. “We have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” Chu said in 2008. Last year, gas hit $9 a gallon in Greece.
As if poor and middle class families aren’t hurting enough trying to make ends meet as it is.
This is the sick mentality we’re dealing with, though most radical environmentalists wouldn’t dare to admit it publicly.
Well-known TV presenter and environmental activist Sir David Attenborough has a dire warning for humanity – we need to die off of our own volition or mother nature will do the job for us.
Attenborough, famous for hosting numerous nature documentaries over the span of the past six decades, told Britain’s Radio Times that humans are a plague on the earth and the only way to save the planet is to limit human population growth.“We are a plague on the earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde,” Attenborough said.
“Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.”
Attenborough is best known for his “Life on Earth” series of wildlife documentaries, as well as for a previous statement extolling the virtues of saving the environment by eliminating people.
“Maybe it is time that instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, we should control the population to ensure the survival of the environment,” Attenborough is widely quoted to have said in a letter to John Guillebaud, Professor of Family Planning and Reproductive Health at University College London.
Funny how none of these guys every volunteer to remove THEMSELVES from the planet in an effort to stop this “plague.” It’s OTHER people whose lives they consider disposable.
Paul Ehrlich, the doomsday biologist who coined the term “The Population Bomb” more than 40 years ago with a book of the same name, says the world now faces “dangerous trends” of global climate change and overpopulation, which threaten our extinction.
Reducing the number of people is still the answer to civilization’s woes, Ehrlich and his wife Anne wrote in anarticle published Jan. 9 by London’s Royal Society.
“To our minds, the fundamental cure, reducing the scale of the human enterprise (including the size of the population) to keep its aggregate consumption within the carrying capacity of Earth is obvious but too much neglected or denied,” Ehrlich wrote.
Ehrlich spelled out exactly what he meant in an interview with a liberal blog/news site called Raw Story.
“Giving people the right to have as many people, as many children that they want is, I think, a bad idea,” the Web site quoted Ehrlich as saying.
“Nobody, in my view, has the right to have 12 children or even three unless the second pregnancy is twins,” Ehrlich added.
How much you wanna bet this guy believes it’s a mother’s “right” to murder her unborn child….just not to give birth to him/her if he/she happens to expand your family larger than some bureaucrat with a god complex thinks it should be?
Of course, the “solutions” to these quacks’ anti-human hysteria involves confiscating more of your tax money to pay for other people’s abortions and population control schemes:
Little does it matter to people like Ehrlich and Attenborough that population control has usually been deeply rooted in eugenics, a science attempting to reduce “undesirable” populations, asDaniel Patrick Moloney has documented.
Nor does it seem to matter that attempts at population control have only resulted in outcomes such as China’s oppressive and coercive one-child policy, which, coupled with a cultural preference for boys, is not only decimating the country’s demographics, but causing the sex-selective abortion of millions of baby girls.
Fortunately, pro-life advocates succeeded yesterday in halting the Obama Administration’sattempt to include abortion in the list of rights protected by the United Nations. This week, we can hope they will continue to make progress toward protecting lives in the United States.
Another corrupt Obama administration official. Another scandal the media won’t investigate or expose. Another typical day in Washington.
A key agency in the “most transparent administration in history” is being investigated for dodging potential public scrutiny and possibly congressional oversight by using bogus electronic mail accounts to conduct official business.
It involves the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its administrator, Lisa Jackson, the Obama appointee who has dedicated tens of millions of dollars to an “environmental justice” movement that helps minority communities get green. Each year the agency doles out cash to leftwing community groups that help poor, minority and indigenous people increase recycling, reduce carbon emissions through “weatherization,” participate in “green jobs” training and avoid heat stroke.
The thought of this major government agency conducting secret operations is downright scary not to mention illegal. But that could be exactly what’s going on at the EPA and now the agency’s watchdog is investigating at the request of Congress. In amemo addressed to Jackson and other high-ranking EPA mucky mucks, the agency’s inspector general announces its plans to begin an audit of “electronic records management practices.”
“Our objective is to determine whether EPA follows applicable laws and regulations when using private and alias email accounts to conduct official business,” the EPA Inspector General writes.
Welcome to another installment of “Bureaucrats Gone Wild.” The EPA was originally created to advise congress and enforce federal environmental laws passed by congress (which constitutes a constitutional question in itself, since environmental issues, per the 10th Amendment, belong under the jurisdiction of the individual states, not the federal government).
Now, the EPA has become a monster that continually makes up its own rules and regulations – which are never voted on by the people or their representatives – and abuses its power to control individuals and their private property. Staying warm in winter is as much a matter of basic survival as food, water, and shelter – areas where it is incredibly dangerous for government to exert control at the expense of individual freedom.
So, you’re living in Fairbanks, Alaska, and it’s 45 degrees below zero, Fahrenheit. The high today will be -39 degrees below zero. The weather services all project lots more double-digit minus numbers in the coming days and weeks, with dips into the minus 50s and 60s. Heating oil prices are killing your family budget, so you crank up the wood stove and start burning some of the firewood you collected last summer. Uh-oh! Now you’re in trouble!
Yes, you’re merely trying to survive economically — along with trying to keep the wife, kids, and grandma from freezing to death. Of course, that’s not a mere theoretical possibility in these temps — but federal EPA bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., have determined that fine particulate matter (soot) in your wood smoke is verboten.
Lying low in the Tanana Valley, Fairbanks regularly experiences temperature inversions that trap smoky air over the area. That means people with respiratory problems can have more irritation from increased soot content. The federal Environmental Protection Agency’s revised fine particulate matter regulations (PM2.5) have cut the annual level of allowable fine particulates from 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 12 micrograms.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough, a county area roughly the size of New Jersey with under 100,000 population, has been under the EPA gun since the agency ratcheted down its soot standards in 2008. Along with 14 other cities and 53 other counties that were not then on the EPA’s “non-attainment area” list, the Fairbanks North Star Borough is under orders to clean up its air or face fines and a “compliance plan” imposed by EPA. In efforts to meet the federal mandate, borough politicians attempted to regulate wood burning. That got citizens heated up.
“Everybody wants clean air,” state Rep. Tammie Wilson told the Associated Press. “We just have to make sure that we can also heat our homes.” Rep. Wilson sponsored a citizen initiative passed in October that bans the borough regulation of home heating devices. The borough, she said, has no business stepping in with restrictions when no one knows if they will work. “We’re still waiting here for a model, a model that shows us that if we do A, B and C, we can then get into attainment,” she said. “We have not seen anything from the borough, from the state or from the EPA showing us that that is even possible with the technology that is available to us.”
The citizens have spoken; they have told the local, state, and federal officials that they would rather not freeze to death to satisfy federal bureaucrats who are in a fretting frenzy over theoretical deaths from soot. The citizens are on firm ground, as it turns out; the “science” the EPA has based its PM2.5 standards on is shoddy at best. Like the “science” cited by alarmists who are all in a twist over global warming, the studies providing the basis for PM2.5 are based on computer models and hidden data, not actual measurements and peer-reviewed analysis.
[...] The EPA’s brazen overreach and flawed science have been flayed and exposed repeatedly (see: Here, here, and here), but the Obama administration has marched on, determined to impose its “green” agenda on the nation.
Of course, even if the people of Fairbanks were to cease all burning of firewood, there is no guarantee that they would satisfy the EPA standards. There is no viable source of energy that meets EPA approval. The EPA is down on coal and oil, and even clean natural gas, which for years was the darling energy source of the greens — until the recent natural gas boom began making it cheap and abundant.
From fundraising to tax hikes, global warming to gun control, Obama is determined not to “let a crisis go to waste” when he can exploit a tragic massacre to advance his agenda:
In his news conference Wednesday, President Obama argued that because a deranged young man murdered 20 children and six adults in a Connecticut schoolhouse last week, Congress should immediately raise taxes on the nation’s highest earners.
No, it didn’t make much sense. But Obama is following the example of predecessor Bill Clinton, who in 1995 used the Oklahoma City bombing not only to press security-related measures but also to enhance his political clout in a desperate battle with Republicans. It worked for Clinton; the next few weeks will tell whether it will do the same for Obama.
The president called the news conference to announce he is forming a commission — a time-honored Washington delaying tactic — to come up with gun control recommendations in the wake of the Newtown killings. Asked afterward about the “fiscal cliff” talks, the president said: “Goodness, if this past week has done anything, it should just give us some perspective. If there’s one thing we should have after this week, it should be a sense of perspective about what’s important.”
What’s important, Obama explained, is for Republicans to recognize that “what the country needs is for us to compromise, get a deficit reduction deal in place; make sure middle-class taxes don’t go up; make sure that we’re laying the foundations for growth; give certainty to businesses large and small … ”
In all, Obama listed eight goals that Newtown should inspire lawmakers to accomplish. Gun control was No. 6.
It was a move many saw coming. The bodies had barely been removed from Sandy Hook Elementary School before some members of the pundit class began to discuss the political benefits Obama might reap from the shootings.
[...] Obama’s approach repulsed more than a few Republicans. “Craven and offensive” was how one senior Senate aide described it. “Totally inappropriate,” said another. Yet another declined to comment because his words would be unprintable. But veterans on Capitol Hill have seen the tactic before.
Is it exploitation for Obama to use the Newtown killings to push for gun control measures? No. Those measures, whether wise or not, are a direct and legitimate reaction to what happened in Connecticut.
But the fiscal cliff, taxes, stimulus and a whole range of issues that have nothing to do with Newtown and everything to do with Obama’s political fortunes? That is classic exploitation, Clinton-style — and now Obama-style.
This is what ICLEI and Agenda 21 look like when they are put into implementation at the local level.
Generated energy in Oregon could soon come from the waves of the Pacific Ocean.
The state is setting up a number of buoys along the Oregon coast in an effort to reduce the state’s carbon footprint.
Officials say large energy utility companies must generate 25% of thier energy through renewable sources by the year 2025.
Where does that 25% figure come from, you ask? From state bureaucrats who are trying to implement Agenda 21, a utopian environmentalist scheme from the United Nations.
Oddly, energy from hydroelectric sources such as the Columbia River dams are NOT counted as “renewable.” If water continually flowing down a river isn’t considered “renewable,” why would the ocean’s waves be any different?
The final product must go through a final stage but the current models suggest that one buoy would create enough energy to power nearly 40 homes.
If one buoy can only power 40 homes, how many buoys would have to choke the ocean’s surface to provide the necessary power for millions of coastal residents and businesses? How many fishing areas, recreational areas, ocean views, and natural habitats will be compromised by all these “green” buoys?
Environmentalists are willing to destroy the livelihoods of fishermen who have harvested the seas for generations. They are willing to destroy the property values of seaside residents for whom ocean views and beach access are top selling points. They’re willing to destroy local industries like tourism and sport fishing. And they’re willing to do it under the radar, where voters are given little to no opportunity to fight back.
For what purpose? To harvest expensive, financially unsustainable “wave energy” that requires enormous federal subsidies to stay afloat (so to speak). All in the name of “green energy” and “fighting global warming.”
The only “green” you’ll see will be in the pockets of those who profit from wave energy technology, while millions of seaside residents who have made their living from the ocean find their communities and livelihoods destroyed.
Unsurprisingly, local residents are upset by these developments:
Growing heartburn among Lincoln County residents has spread north to Tillamook and south to Coos Bay and beyond as more people find out about the state’s plans to remove large tracks of fishing grounds along the Oregon Coast. Tillamook residents rose up angrily Thursday to challenge what they called kicking out commercial and recreational fishing with its hundreds of millions of dollars in annual economic benefits for a few paltry electrical jobs for those monitoring offshore wave energy machines.
Besides deeply wounding the Oregon Coast fishing industry, residents charged that offshore wave energy would ruin views of the ocean, disrupt whale migrations and severely damage the coast’s tourism industry. And what really made them upset was that the Territorial Sea Plan pursued by Governor Kitzhaber’s staff and ocean policy committee, along with the State Land Conservation and Development Commission, have been putting it together largely outside of the public eye.
Lincoln County Commissioner and commercial fisherman Terry Thompson told the Tillamook County Futures Council that although the territorial sea plan, aimed at accommodating wave energy generation, has been in the making for nearly four years, a map with specific locations for offshore wave energy devices did not materialize until a few weeks ago. Thompson said it leaves the public with little time to even look it over, much less react to it or make recommendations.
Many residents told the gathering they were shocked. They called it a “rush job” based on priorities they couldn’t imagine to be so important that it would justify damaging the economy of the Oregon Coast, including general tourism, commercial and recreational fishing and local property values. “With those economic sectors hammered, the coast’s economy would collapse,” one angry resident told News Lincoln County. “And for what?” he questioned. “To line the pockets of east coast investors who would get huge federal subsidies while selling expensive electricity to California to the detriment of the Oregon Coast? This is crazy.”
If it’s successful, convenient, inexpensive, and makes our lives better, environmentalists want to kill it. They won’t be happy until we’re all back in utopian bark hut villages, walking on dirt paths, illuminated only by moonlight.
Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission voted 4-1 today to require fuel distributors to begin reporting the carbon content of car and truck fuel used in the state.
Now, the 2013 Legislature will decide whether to take the next step: Requiring those same companies to cut the carbon content of fuel 10 percent a gallon by 2025.
The “clean fuels” initiative, similar to California’s newly implemented program, favors gasoline and diesel alternatives, such as ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas and electricity. It’s aimed at curbing climate change, with transportation generating a third of Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions, and at boosting in-state biofuels producers.
Opponents, including petroleum, trucking and farm groups, say it could increase gas prices and put Oregon companies at a competitive disadvantage.
Read more at the Oregonian
“A Low Carbon Fuel Standard will raise fuel costs, slow the state’s economic recovery, and create unnecessary overlap and confusion between Oregon’s existing alternative fuels programs,” cautioned Mike Salsgiver, Executive Director of the Oregon Columbia Chapter of Associated General Contractors.
“There is no doubt in our minds that an LCFS will increase the cost of fuel for Oregonians,” added Debra Dunn, President of the Oregon Trucking Associations. “Not only will increased fuel prices have an adverse impact on Oregon’s trucking industry but it will also harm Oregon’s economy as the trucking industry transports the vast majority of the freight in our state.”
A coalition has been formed to oppose implementation of these job-killing regulations:
We’ve lost 113,000 jobs in our state from 2007 through 2011. Tax revenues to fund our state’s schools and services are not keeping pace. More cuts may be necessary as the prospect for another economic downturn looms.
And yet regulators are now seriously considering emulating California’s new “Low Carbon Fuel Standards” regulations that will cost between 9,000 and 29,000 Oregon jobs, will cost Oregon families up to $1,200 per year in fuel costs, and decrease state economic activity by a minimum of $600 million.
In short, it’s another unnecessary obstacle for Oregon’s slow economic recovery.
The proposed Clean Fuel Program will only expose Oregonians to volatile price increases at the pump, additional government regulations of small businesses, and increase our already aggressive blending requirements for ethanol and other forms of bio diesel.
The power to stop these regulations rests with the Oregon legislature, which means ultimately, it rests with you. That’s why a group of fuel users, consumers and business organizations opposed to the adoption of the proposed Clean Fuels Program in Oregon has banded together to form Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy.
Four dead Americans in Libya beg to differ.
The CIA opened the Center on Climate Change and National Security in 2009 to monitor the threats posed to national security by “desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts, and heightened competition for natural resources.”
[...] While Hamas, Iran, and Hezbollah are ramping up to strike Israel, while the Taliban openly mocks Obama’s capitulation in Afghanistan, and while Al Qaeda regroups in places like Iraq and Libya, our CIA is worried about a “worldwide security risk” caused by global warming.
In fact, even as the CIA reels from the scandal surrounding former director David Petraeus, an intelligence report has been released in which the agency suggests ”the U.S. develop a systematic and enduring whole-of-government strategy for monitoring threats connected to climate change.”
It’s an environmentalist wacko’s dream come true, and it will drive up energy prices, making it difficult for the poor to afford electricity and heat. Yet these are the people who claim to be the “compassionate” party of the “common man.”
Barack Obama may consider introducing a tax on carbon emissions to help cut the U.S. budget deficit after winning a second term as president, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.
A tax starting at $20 a metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent and rising at about 6 percent a year could raise $154 billion by 2021, Nick Robins, an analyst at the bank in London, said today in an e-mailed research note, citing Congressional Research Service estimates. “Applied to the Congressional Budget Office’s 2012 baseline, this would halve the fiscal deficit by 2022,” Robins said.
So much for what’s left of our manufacturing. And they wonder why these industries are moving offshore?
This administration continues to behave as if the laws just don’t apply to them. Since a report on their regulatory plans and their economic impact would most likely reflect badly on his economic policies, Obama had decided he’s above the law and doesn’t have to disclose it.
This is the second time he’s the deadline, but nobody is willing to hold him accountable…not even congress. What’s to motivate the Executive branch to obey the law when the other two branches of government refuse to honor their constitutional duty to hold it in check?
As of today, the Obama administration has missed its second straight legal deadline for disclosing its regulatory plans and their economic impact to Congress and the American public. No previous administration has ever failed to produce the report even once.
Every administration is legally required to publish a report each April and October in the Federal Register to inform Congress and the public of the administration’s regulatory agenda and its potential economic impact. The requirement is part of the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980.
Other administrations have been late, but have never failed to issue the legally required report and Pres. Clinton even issued an Executive Order on compliance.
President Obama will not comply with a federal law requiring him to release his regulatory agenda because he doesn’t want Americans voters to know the “terrible cost” it would have on the economy should he win re-election — include the loss of an estimated 887,000 jobs annually, says Sen. James Inhofe, ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Inhofe cites the Regulatory Flexibility Act that requires federal agencies to assess the impact of their regulations on small businesses. He says Obama failed to comply with the law twice over the past year – specifically the April and October deadlines.
“President Obama is refusing to comply with the law that requires him to publish forthcoming regulations because he doesn’t want the American public to know the terrible cost of the regulatory barrage he plans to unleash in a second term,” Inhofe said. “So instead of being honest with the American people about what’s in store if he wins, he’s been trying to hide the fact that he intends to move forward with a slew of rules that will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and dramatically raise the cost of energy on American families.”
First they cut the defense budget. Now they want to convert our navy to run on a $26 per gallon fuel.
Meanwhile, China is in the middle of a massive military build-up, Russia is restarting the Cold War, and Iran is on the verge of a nuclear weapon. Priorities??
Just when you thought the Obama administration could not do any further damage to the military that it already has, now we learn the he is forcing his “green energy” agenda upon the U.S. Navy by forcing all non-nuclear powered vessels to use “bio-fuel.”
This month, a carrier strike group that is headed to the Pacific for a six-week multinational naval exercise off the coast of Hawaii, will have its non-nuclear powered escort vessels, which include a destroyer and a tanker, use a newly formulated 50-50 mixture of standard [diesel] fuel, and a cocktail of seeds, algae and chicken fat, according toa July 2, 2012 FOXNews article.
A Navy official stated that operating the so-called “Great Green Fleet” on this blend of alternative and conventional fuel is part of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’ plan to have half the Navy fleet on alternative fuel by 2020.
The Navy official answered…
Investments in biofuel will produce a competitively priced — and domestically produced — alternative to conventional fuel. Such investments help the Navy and the nation become less dependent on foreign oil and thus less subject to volatility in oil prices that directly affect our readiness.
Not so fast.
What will really ‘affect the readiness’ of our Navy is it having to file for bankruptcy–because this biofuel mixture was confirmed to cost $26 a gallon–more than seven times the $3.60 a gallon cost for conventional fuel.
A man who has collected rainwater in ponds on his property for fire protection for 37 years is now suddenly on his way to jail. Why? Because the state of Oregon claims ownership of all water – even the rain that falls on your private property.
Gary Harrington, the Oregon man convicted of collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his rural property surrendered Wednesday morning to begin serving his 30-day, jail sentence in Medford, Ore.
“I’m sacrificing my liberty so we can stand up as a country and stand for our liberty,” Harrington told a small crowd of people gathered outside of the Jackson County (Ore.) Jail.
Several people held signs that showed support for Harrington as he was taken inside the jail.
Harrington was found guilty two weeks ago of breaking a 1925 law for having, what state water managers called “three illegal reservoirs” on his property. He was convicted of nine misdemeanors, sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined over $1500 for collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his property.
The Oregon Water Resources Department, claims that Harrington has been violating the state’s water use law by diverting water from streams running into the Big Butte River.
But Harrington says he is not diverting the state’s water — merely collecting rainwater and snow melt that falls or flows on his own property.
Harrington has vowed to continue to fight the penalty, stating that the government has become “big bullies” and that “from here on in, I’m going to fight it.”
For years, the US Dept. of Agriculture has subsidized corn to keep the price artificially low, which is why so many products use High Fructose Corn Syrup and so many farmers use it for livestock feed (as opposed to grasses, which they are naturally designed to eat instead). It’s why grass-fed beef and other natural foods cost so much more than those that have become dependent on corn. If not for federal interference in the the corn market, many farmers and companies would have already moved towards alternatives and would not be so vulnerable to the current shortage.
The federal mandates for ethanol only exacerbate the problem further.
This has been a cruel season for America’s agricultural economy. It was partly unavoidable, as our nation’s farmers are being devastated by this summer’s brutal and worsening drought. The farm economy has withered along with the crops, and the American consumer, once again, will pay for it with higher food prices.
One of the hardest-hit commodities, corn, plays a critical role in our food chain. This year’s crop yield could be the worst in 15 years, and corn prices have already hit record high levels.
But aggravating the problem and adding to the crisis is the U.S. government’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires that a certain volume of ethanol (15.2 billion gallons in 2012, mainly derived from corn) be blended into gasoline. This is an arbitrary figure, set irrespective of market supplies, demands or price. It applies to corn that’s desperately needed for livestock feed and food for consumers.
The RFS has diverted so much corn as a questionable substitute for gasoline that in the face of this drought-depleted harvest, major food-producing companies such as Smithfield are being forced to seek alternative markets for grain to meet the demands of their livestock and at more affordable prices. Ironically, if the ethanol mandate did not exist, even this year’s drought-depleted corn crop would have been more than enough to meet the requirements for livestock feed and food production at decent prices.
To give you some idea of the magnitude of the problem, look at Smithfield. We’re the world’s largest pork producer. We purchase roughly 128 million bushels of corn and corn equivalents a year from U.S. farmers to feed our 16 million pigs on farms across 12 states. This makes us one of the largest consumers of corn in the country. In addition, we contract with about 2,135 U.S. hog producers.
This year, the double whammy of a drought that’s ravaging crops and ethanol demand has pushed corn prices to what are now record-high levels of over $8 per bushel, a quadrupling of prices in less than a decade. This has compelled food producers like Smithfield to find ways to control skyrocketing feed costs. For the first time in memory, corn is cheaper when it’s delivered to the U.S. from abroad than if it’s purchased from domestic suppliers. Smithfield was forced to take the unfortunate but absolutely necessary step of buying corn from Brazil—spending money that under normal circumstances would have gone to U.S. farmers.
This is what happens when the corn market, which already has to count on the whims of Mother Nature and is governed by the laws of supply and demand, is victimized by the whims of Washington and the unintended consequences of the diversion of food to fuel.
This has nothing to do with protecting the environment or promoting energy independence. It has EVERYTHING to do with corrupt leftists abusing unconstitutional powers to target specific industries they ideologically oppose simply because they exist at all.
This abuse of power demonstrates why such unelected, unaccountable, and unconstitutional agencies and departments need to be completely abolished.
It’s bad enough that government regulations and environmental legal defense groups have prevented us from building oil refineries for over 30 years. It’s even worse when the existing ones are forced to blend fuel mixtures that don’t exist.
We are all painfully aware of the Soviet style mandate that requires 10% of petroleum to be comprised of ethanol. This unconstitutional mandate has killed jobs, driven up the cost of fuel and food, lowered gas mileage, and damaged car engines – all to benefit corporate cronies in Big Ag. This odious fuel source is primarily made from corn. But since 2010, the EPA has mandated the blending of more than 20 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel into the nation’s fuel supply. The problem is that while creating efficacious fuel from grass, wood, and algae might sound great in theory, it doesn’t exist on the commercial fuel market.
On December 19, 2007, President Bush signed a disastrous socialist energy bill that contained numerous green energy mandates and subsidies. It also banned the sale of incandescent light bulbs. The “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007” passed with support from 39 Republican senators and 95 Republican congressmen. It created a Renewable Fuels Mandate requiring that 22 billion gallons of renewables be blended into our gasoline supply by 2016 and 36 billion gallons by 2022. The bill also created a few sub-mandates, one of which required a blend of 100 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel by 2010, rising to 250 million in 2011, 500 million in 2012, and 16 billion by 2022. The bill also established a tax credit of $1.01 per gallon produced.
Despite the tremendous tailwinds of tax credits and the boot of the government used to force fuel blenders to purchase cellulosic fuels, the industry has failed to perform magic and become commercially viable during the past 5 years. Some of the plants that were given subsidies to produce this phantom fuel were never even built. Yes – this is a scandal far worse than Solyndra.
What is even more scandalous is that oil companies are forced to pay a tax for not blending this phantom fuel!
Because oil companies are deemed to be in violation of the renewable fuels mandate, they are forced to purchase waiver credits from the EPA or face large fines. Oil companies have been forced to pay $14 million in these credits so far (more than all the green energy companies have paid in taxes). Yes, indeed we already have a cap and trade program in place.
At present, there is a pending lawsuit against the EPA over the phantom fuel mandate filed through the D.C. Circuit Court by industry groups. However, we cannot count on the courts to uphold the Constitution. After all, liberal judges hold that government can regulate inactivity, presumably, even if that activity doesn’t exist.