November 16, 2018

Marita Noon closes out 2012

Posted on 19. Dec, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment

We’re pleased to bring a collection of Marita Noon’s most recent articles for the months of November and December and thank her for her contributions to our reader’s EQ (energy quotient). – Editor

ARTICLE: Obama cares more about Big Bird than real birds

The number of days until the election can now be counted on both hands. Regardless of the outcome, we know one issue will be buried under the fiscal-cliff news—where it hopes to fly under the radar. This one issue? The extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy—which is bound to be present in lame-duck session negotiations, as it is currently scheduled to expire on December 31.

Using taxpayer dollars, the PTC supposedly “makes wind power more competitive with other sources of electricity”—though wind energy is still more expensive than traditionally fueled electricity and raises the costs for both residential and industrial users.

Throughout the year, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has been working valiantly, but unsuccessfully, to get the PTC extended. They are now down to the wire and are getting panicked—sending military veterans to meet with staffers of GOP members who are believed to be “persuadable,” and even calling on pension fund managers to put pressure on House and Senate leadership. Their only hope for salvation is the lame-duck session.

Should Romney win, the lame-duck pressure will be even stronger as he has stood in opposition to the PTC extension. In a Romney White House, wind energy will need to be viable without taxpayer subsidy or borrowing from China. After twenty years, it should be, but as we’ve seen, it isn’t.

By contrast, President Obama is proud of his “investments” in wind energy. In April 2011, before Pennsylvania wind-turbine manufacturer Gamesa started layoffs, he gave a speech at the Fairless Hills plant in which he announced: “I want the United States to be the leading manufacturer of wind power. I want it made right here in the U.S. of A.” Throughout the campaign season, “President Obama has traveled to wind-heavy swing states like Iowa to tout his support for the subsidy.”

Gamesa is just one of several wind turbine manufacturers who’ve announced layoffs because of the impending PTC expiration. Others include Clipper Wind in Iowa and Vestas in Colorado. All blame the “uncertainty of the PTC.” Orders for new turbines have “screeched to a halt.”

Stories of closures and lay-offs make a very weak case for the PTC’s extension, as none of those tell the net-jobs picture. Many independent studies have concluded that wind development is a net jobs loser, but AWEA isn’t mentioning that detail, and is hoping that “persuadable” Republicans won’t notice that reality. Layoffs in the wind industry pale in comparison to those faced as a result of the Obama Administration’s harsh regulations impacting coal mining and coal-fueled power.

Dramatic stories of closures and lay-offs make a compelling case for the PTC’s extension and pressure “persuadable” Republicans to give in—and the AWEA is counting on it. While most of us are watching polling data, the AWEA is applying pressure.

No one wants to be the meanie who puts people out of work—especially in this economy. But, especially in this economy, the real costs must be considered.

A new report, Subsidizing Big Wind: The Real Costs to Taxpayers, has just been released. Subsidizing Big Wind points out that the PTC “is only one of the subsidies given to the wind industry.” In it, Robert Bryce analyzes all the subsidies the wind industry enjoys: direct subsidies, subsidies in the form of mandates, subsidizing wind-energy jobs, and subsidizing wind companies by exempting them from prosecution. The report shows that “no other part of the energy industry receives such preferential treatment.”

Direct subsidies

Supporters of renewable energy love to cite the so-called subsidies, or tax-preferences, given to the fossil fuel industry. However, a dollar-to-dollar comparison doesn’t give a true picture. As addressed in Subsidizing Big Wind, there are several different ways to make an honest comparison between liquid fuels and electricity; a per BTU basis or barrels of oil equivalent —both look at the actual amount of energy produced.

Using Energy Information Administration’s BTU data, Bryce concludes that, “on a raw, per-unit-of-energy-produced basis, subsidies to the wind sector are more than 200 times greater than those given to the oil and gas sector.” Another way to look at it is “using data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)”—which is a “barrels of oil equivalent per day” model. The BP/CBO view shows the “wind sector is getting subsidies about 12 times greater than the amount of tax preferences provided to the oil and gas sector.”

Subsidizing Big Wind also does an apples-to-apples comparison with nuclear power. Using the “barrels of oil equivalent per day,” the wind-energy sector is getting about 6.5 times as much in subsidies as the nuclear sector.

Subsidies in the form of mandates

“Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia are subject to mandates for renewable-electricity production, which is affecting the cost of electricity for about 220 million Americans.” In addition to more expensive electricity, these mandates, usually called a Renewable Portfolio Standard, make “the addition or upgrade of 11,400 miles of transmission lines” requisite—a cost that will be borne by the end users at $4-5 per month for the average residential customer.

While traditional energy sources may get some favorable tax treatment, “there are no requirements at the federal level or the state level for consumers to use coal, oil, or natural gas.” Bryce states: “There is no reason that the wind-energy sector should be entitled to both direct subsidies and the indirect subsidies that come in the form of mandates.”

Subsidizing wind-energy jobs

Here we are with the jobs claim. “The evidence shows that whatever jobs are created by the wind sector come at a significant cost to taxpayers, and those costs are, again, an indirect subsidy.” Subsidizing Big Wind looks at several different case studies. One gives us a $329,000 per-job cost. A Texas report puts each wind-related job at a $1.6 million cost to the state taxpayer. At the Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon, each job costs taxpayers $14 million. “Wind-related jobs are simply too expensive to be sustainable.”

Subsidizing wind companies by exempting them from prosecution

We’ve all heard stories of birds and bats being killed by wind turbines—earning them the “giant bird Cuisinart” moniker. The birds being killed aren’t just sparrows or pigeons. They are eagles and raptors that “are protected by two of America’s oldest wildlife-protection laws: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Eagle Protection Act.” While the wind industry isn’t prosecuted for the “unpermitted bird kills,” the oil industry gets hauled into court and is required to pay hefty fines for the deaths of a few ducks.

The bird deaths have become so dramatic, 91 environmental groups have signed a petition asking the US Fish and Wildlife Service to create regulations to better protect migratory birds. “Eric Glitzenstein, a Washington, D.C.–based lawyer, who represents several environmental groups on the bird-kill issue, said: ‘It’s absolutely clear that there’s been a mandate from the top’ echelons of the federal government not to prosecute the wind industry for violating wildlife laws.”

“Despite pressure from environmental groups, the Interior Department has indicated that it may issue permits to the wind industry that will guarantee that certain wind projects are exempt from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Eagle Protection Act for up to 30 years. The Obama administration has delayed taking any final action on the permits until after the November 6 election.”

Following Romney’s debate remark about defunding Big Bird, Obama has made opposition to the killing of Big Bird a campaign issue. Yet, Obama’s support of the PTC is, in effect, a plan to fund bird murder—a plan “persuadable” Republicans are being pressured to support. They are being told that there will be no problematic political fallout from including the PTC in a package of other miscellaneous tax-extender items. The PTC extension could well get buried in an omnibus bill, filled with some other things most Republicans want.

Addressing the PTC payment phase out—as written in the current legislation, David Kreutzer, Ph.D., writes: “What proponents of a PTC extension really seem to want is a perpetual series of extensions to provide an immortal tax benefit.”

Right now, the PTC extension is being pitched to the House Ways and Means Committee (as a predecessor to coming to a vote for the whole House). Calls from constituents, especially to Ways and Means Committee members, can alert them that there is problematic political fallout if they move the extension forward. Will you pick up the phone (202-224-3121) and tell them that the real cost of wind energy subsidies is too high?

Don’t let the threat of killing Big Bird obfuscate the bigger issue of murdering real birds, of hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of dollars per job, of mandates that are raising energy costs, and of obscene subsidies for an energy source that couldn’t make it in the free market. Tell your congressional representatives to say, “No,” to the PTC extension—regardless of the package in which it is hidden. (For more info see PTCFacts.Info.)

 

ARTICLE: The Obama Administration wastes no time in “payback” for energy creators

Part of the hope the Romney campaign offered was a comprehension of the role energy plays in the American economy—especially energy that is abundant, affordable, and available. He made “energy” the number one point of his five-point plan. During his now-unsuccessful bid for the White House, he met with industry leaders from a variety of sectors to determine what would unleash job growth and economic development. Those meetings, and America’s current predicament, brought about a transformation in his thinking and resulted in specific agendas designed to roll back the Obama Administration’s onerous regulations—specifically those imposed by Lisa Jackson’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Many of the EPA regulations, such as the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards for Power Plants and Boiler MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) Rule, are particularly destructive to the coal industry. Understanding the deathknell the Obama Administrations’ regulations were issuing to the coal industry and, more particularly, the miners and their families in Appalachia, the region rallied around Romney.

On Friday, November 9, a coal industry newsletter stated: “In President Barack Obama’s second term, U.S. coal producers are bracing for tighter regulation of everything from emissions from coal-burning plants, to coal ash, to respirable coal dust in mines, to Appalachian surface mining activities. … One example is the U.S. EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, one of the most costly rules in EPA history.”

In her book Regulating to Disaster, economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth describes the regulations this way:

“The Mercury and Air Toxic Standards for Power Plants rule will make electricity generation far more complex and expensive, especially in the eastern half of the United States. It will require the closure of many coal- and oil-fired power plants, and placement of emissions control equipment on others.”

“Maximum Achievable Control Technology means that plants and boilers have to use the most stringent methods possible to get heavy metals out of the air, even if these methods cost billions and the benefits are worth far less—as the case with the new utility rule. That is why many plants will have to close.”

Furchtgott-Roth explains that the new regulations mean “higher electricity prices for these parts of the country, which are already suffering from declining manufacturing.” Interestingly, she points out that the “battleground states of Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Florida and Michigan” will be hit particularly hard by the increased electricity rates brought about by the regulations—regulations that a Romney presidency would have likely overturned.

For example, while I did not have access to Team Romney’s plans for either the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards or Boiler MACT, I do have white papers on other blows to coal, such as the Cooling Water Intake Structures Rule—which “affects thousands of existing power plants and manufacturing facilities that generate electricity or manufacture other goods and that also withdraw at least 2 million gallons per day of cooling water.” The Romney document states: “The proposed rule imposes a huge regulatory burden for little environmental benefit; EPA’s own estimate of total annualized compliance costs for the impingement standard alone is $384 million, while it estimates that the cost will yield only $18 million in annualized benefits. Moreover, the rule requires the power industry to bear cumulative costs that have not been analyzed by EPA.” It delineates actions to be taken through either litigation and/or executive order.

Following the Obama victory, the specifics of the Romney plan are irrelevant—other than to note that plans did exist that would have saved jobs and kept electricity rates low. In West Virginia, which has had 80% of its electricity generated from coal, regulations have already nearly doubled electricity rates in just the past few years.

Valerie Jarrett, often referred to as the brains of the White House, is reported to have threatened anyone who opposes them with punitive actions: “After we win this election, it’s our turn.  Payback time.  Everyone not with us is against us and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve. There is going to be hell to pay.”

The coal industry, already under attack, came out en masse for Romney in hopes of saving their communities and livelihoods. In the current climate, a Romney victory was their only hope.

In September, Alpha Natural Resources announced major lay-offs—with 400 jobs already eliminated and nearly 1000 more to take place in 2013, production cuts, and the closure of eight mines. Presumably, a Romney win could have reversed the economic devastation—in Eastern Kentucky alone, more than 2000 jobs have been lost in 2012.

Apparently Teco Energy also saw the writing on the wall and was hoping against hope for a Romney presidency. Two days after President Obama was re-elected, Teco Coal Company announced major lay-offs. Likewise, Murray Energy released a statement saying “it would give pink slips to 102 workers at its West Ridge Mine in Utah and 54 at its underground mine in the southern Illinois town of Galatia.”

In a prayer Bob Murray read to his staff before letting them go, he said: “My regret, Lord, is that our young people, including those in my own family, never will know what America was like or might have been. They will pay the price in their reduced standard of living and, most especially, reduced freedom. … Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build. We ask for your guidance in this drastic time with the drastic decisions that will be made to have any hope of our survival as an American business enterprise.”

Wasting no time on the “payback” threat, also on Friday, the Department of Interior (DOI) “issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West originally slated for oil shale development.”

With the Jarrett threat dangling, the EPA is likely to tighten the regulatory screws on the coal industry—raising electricity rates and increasing lay-offs in an already hard-hit region. The DOI will continue to restrict oil and gas development—pumping up gasoline prices and hurting the middle class and the poor.

Many of us hoped to wake up Wednesday, November 7, to a feeling of freedom, flexibility and fun. Instead, we find ourselves facing four more years of regulation, restriction, and rancor.

 

ARTICLE: Exclusive: DOE corruption—appointed and elected officials should face prison time

An exhaustive review of 350+ pages of leaked emails regarding the Obama administration’s handling of the various green-energy loan and grant programs makes several things very clear: they lied, engaged in favoritism, and rushed application approvals to suit the political agenda of the White House. At the same time, worthy projects that went through a complete due diligence process were denied or ultimately withdrawn, as the lengthy approval process “taxed investors’ patience”—as was the case with Aptera Motors, which worked closely with the DOE for two years.

Paul Wilbur, President and CEO at Aptera, didn’t think they were treated unfairly. He told me, “At the end of the day, we couldn’t get through the process.” But, he admits, he hasn’t read the emails.

Aptera was trying to build a very efficient electric vehicle with an under $30K price point. Wilbur met with Secretary Chu who could see the value in the technology. But our research shows that value was not the deciding factor in which projects got funded and which ones didn’t. Wilbur reports that he didn’t donate to any candidate. He wanted to keep the whole process clean and do what was “good for America.”

The report from the House Oversight Committee says Aptera first applied for an ATVM loan in December of 2008 and “shut down on December 2, 2011.”  The report implies that Aptera was led on: “After numerous negotiations with DOE, in September 2011, Aptera received a conditional loan commitment of $150 million if the company was able to raise $80 million privately.” And: “The loans given to Fisker and Tesla gave Aptera hope that DOE would eventually act on their application. More importantly, since the DOE continued to engage with the company throughout the time period, management was convinced that DOE was interested and willing to provide financing for the company.”

Aptera’s 100% US technology has since been sold to a Chinese company.

Aptera was applying for an Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan (ATVM). Only five loans were given out through the program and all have political ramifications. Christine Lakatos, who has worked with me on the green-energy, crony-corruption reports I’ve written, has done thorough research on the topic. She has read each and every one of the 350+ pages of emails released on October 31 and has written a blog post specifically addressing the ATVM program and its hi-jinks.

As she cites, Fisker and Tesla (which Romney referenced in the first debate), got loans in 2010 and then the Vehicle Production Group’s loan was the only ATVM loan closed in 2011; all have ties to Obama bundlers. The other two ATVM loans went to Ford and Nissan—both of which, according to the House report, “were heavily engaged in negotiations with the Administration over fuel economy standards for model years 2012-2016 at the time the DOE was considering their applications. Both companies eventually expressed publicly their support for these standards, which the Administration described as the ‘Historic Agreement.’”

Armed with the sweeping knowledge of the House reports and subsequent hearings, evidence from DOE staffers (many of whom were appointed by Obama), Lakatos’ research, and personal experience, a different ATVM applicant has now taken its case to court citing “corruption and negligence.”

On November 16, 2012, XP Technology filed a lawsuit against the federal government concerning the DOE’s denial of XP Technology’s loan guarantee application. The complaint alleges: “criminal activities did take place by DOE staff and affiliates.” A November 23 press release announces that XP Technology is now represented by Cause of Action, “a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses investigative, legal, and communication tools to educate the public on how government accountability and transparency protects taxpayer interests and economic activity.”

According to the document filed on November 16, “Plaintiffs backgrounds include extensive issued patents on seminal technologies in use world-wide, White House and Congressional commendations and an engineering team of highly experienced auto-makers.

Plaintiff brought a vehicle design which was proposed as the longest range, safest, lowest cost electric vehicle, to be built in America in order to deliver extensive American jobs nationwide. No other applicant, or award ‘winner’, has succeeded in meeting, or intending to meet, that milestone. XP Technology developed a patented lightweight, low-cost, long-range, electric vehicle using air-expanded foam-skinned material for a portion of the polymer body and received numerous patents, acclaim and superior computer modeling metrics over any competing solution.

XP presented a vast set of letters of support to DOE from pending customers. Major auto-industry facilities and engineers had joined forces to bring the vehicle to the defense, commercial and consumer market.”

Over the weekend, we had an exclusive interview, on condition of anonymity, with a senior official at XP Technology about the lawsuit and the experience.

He reported: “Staff from within the DOE have provided evidence which is quite compelling.” As Aptera’s Wilbur made clear, the individuals within the DOE were very thorough. One of the emails, in the 350+ pages, was from Secretary Chu himself in which he criticized staffers for taking a “principled stand,” which held up the approval process of projects the White House wanted advanced. Another indicated that the pressure to rush was coming from “above the agency.” Overall, the emails show that projects were rushed so that announcements could coincide with visits, speeches, and photo ops—as well as providing talking points for the president.

Our XP source told us “We experienced, and have been provided evidence of, applicant submissions and reviews being modified in order to benefit some and disadvantage others, and the business connections between the different parties associated with the ones that benefited is quite extraordinary.”

The leaked emails support this accusation, specifically regarding the “business connections.” In her post, Lakatos calls it “green fraternizing.” The emails show that certain applicants and decision makers went bike riding together, had coffee meetings, sleepovers, beer summits, parties, dinners, and fundraisers.

While he didn’t provide us with a name, the XP official said, “We experienced a senior senator blockading our efforts and then providing favors to a competitor, which then benefited his family financially.” The discovery the law suit will provide will expose the “senior senator,” but our previous research shows that Senator Harry Reid’s actions seem to fit the XP official’s comment.

XP Technology believes that “DOE officials changed the first-come-first-served published rules and standards of the funding in order to take applicants in order of who they favored and who had purchased the most influence instead of the order in which they applied, as required.”

Having extensively studied the DOE’s various loan programs, including the ATVM, Lakatos and I agree with our source’s startling conclusion: “Based on the evidence provided by investigators, and experienced directly by our team, it is hard to imagine that at least one or more elected, or appointed, officials might not be seeing measures ranging from censure or even federal prison time.”

Time, the lawsuit, and subsequent investigation will tell.

While the House Oversight Committee has been digging deeply into the mismanagement and corruption of the green energy loans, the media has paid little attention. Other than our report, the October 31 release of the emails cited here received virtually no news reporting. Even the Fox News Channel ignored the story. The plight of promising companies like Aptera and XP Technology would have gone unnoticed if not for the lawsuit. The legal complaint attracted attention.

On November 16, the Heritage Foundation broke the XP story: “A lawsuit filed in federal court on Wednesday alleges mass favoritism in the Department of Energy’s decisions to award federal grants to major car companies to develop electric vehicles, according to a legal complaint obtained by Scribe.”

On November 19, Lakatos, whose work is listed as “evidence” in the legal complaint, received a call from Fox News’ Gary Gastelu—who reported on the story on November 20. The next day, Fox News covered the lawsuit on America’s Newsroom. Even the Drudge Report picked up on the story.

XP has a litigation website on which the company states: “The case has nothing to do with complaining about not getting the loans. It has everything to do with HOW the applicants didn’t get the loans!” They are communicating with other applicants about participating in the lawsuit.

The XP story and subsequent media coverage offers a lesson for others—especially industries who have been wronged by the Obama Administration’s practices (such as energy). The lawsuit may—or may not—send officials to federal prison, as our XP source suggests, but it could go a long way to winning in the court of public opinion.

ARTICLE: The Green Climate Fund: redistributing wealth from the West to the rest

COP 18 started last week in Doha, Qatar, where climate campaigners will, again, try to get governments to commit to a $100-billion-per-year “Climate Fund” to redistribute wealth from the West to the rest—though $100 billion is already being considered “inadequate.” The Climate Fund “is designed to transfer wealth from the developed world to the developing world to fund mitigation and adaptation to climate change.”

COP 18 is the latest in high-level, international meetings designed to continue progress on a comprehensive agreement to address global climate change. (COP stands for Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.)

Considering that alarmists believe that carbon emissions from coal and oil-based energy is the primary driver of climate change—rather than natural causes, it is ironic that COP 18 is being held in Doha, in the heart of the OPEC region. Reports claim that Qatar has some of the “highest emissions per capita” and has barely been involved in climate negotiations. Some have even said: “having one of the OPEC leaders in charge of climate talks is like asking Dracula to look after a blood bank.”

Even most of the 17,000 people who’ve converged in Qatar, according to the Los Angeles Times, “maintain low expectations for the massive confab.” Heading into COP 18, an AP report states: “Judging by previous conferences, the negotiations in Doha will ebb and flow, with progress one day being replaced by bitter discord the next.”

Apparently, the predictions were correct. After two days in Doha, according to the AP, “the talks fell back to the bickering between rich and poor countries that has marked the negotiations since they started two decades ago.” Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the vice chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said “the slow pace of the talks was ‘frustrating’ and that negotiators seem more concerned with protecting national interests than studying the science that prompted the negotiations.”

With Doha’s grim outlook, and the “disappointing” results of the Bali Action Plan, Copenhagen Accord, Cancun Agreements, and Durban Platform, why should we pay any attention to the climate change talks taking place in Doha?

Superstorm Sandy.

Think Progress’ Climate Progress site offers an overview of the “UN Climate Change Negotiations.” Within the seven pages, they claim that: “the American public’s belief in global warming has never been higher, having grown to 70 percent in September 2012. More than three-quarters of U.S. voters want elected officials to take steps to address global warming.” On page 5, it states “polls show that this past summer’s extreme weather and drought were the strongest drivers of this change in the intensity of Americans’ concerns about climate change. If these polls were run again today, after Hurricane Sandy hit the Atlantic Coast, this concern would no doubt be even higher.”

Regarding the storm, von Ypersele said: Hurricane Sandy was “probably not a coincidence.” Following the superstorm, “global warming has re-emerged as an issue in Washington.” Addressing climate change, the AP said: “The issue had been virtually absent in the presidential campaigning until Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast.” The UK Guardian claims that Superstorm Sandy “put climate change back on the domestic agenda.” And, the LA Times confirms the storm’s importance in Doha: “Sandy’s fresh reminder of the potential consequences of global warming has been a dominant theme in the first days of the two-week meeting.”

The climate activists in Doha acknowledge that moving forward without US participation will be difficult. European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard believes “We need the US to engage even more.” And they see Sandy as the impetus for more US involvement. Elliot Diringer, executive vice president and climate expert at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, claims that due to Sandy, “the discussion in the United States is different now, even from a month ago.”

But, was Superstorm Sandy truly an “apocalyptic vision of what climate change could look like;” a sign that “if we aren’t already, we all may soon be on the frontlines of climate change;” or was it a stroke of luck, a PR coup, for those, such as Janet Redmon, co-director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, who are looking to “promote the Green Climate Fund as the main channel for public finance?” The Climate Progress document calls “the financial commitments” “the most critical at this point.”

According to the AP: “Delegates in Doha will also try to finalize the rules of the Green Climate Fund, which is supposed to raise $100 billion a year by 2020. Financed by richer nations, the fund would support poorer nations in converting to cleaner energy sources and in adapting to a shifting climate that may damage people’s health, agriculture and economies in general.”

I contend that Sandy provided Green Climate Fund supporters with the marketing muscle it needed to breathe life into the destined-for-failure COP 18. Even the AP piece I’ve quoted here, acknowledges that storms such as Sandy are “a rarity for the Northeast.” But are the “monster storms” and “scorching heat waves” really evidence of the “freakish weather” that “will occur more often on a warming planet?” A look at history, such as the samples below, validates my premise that they are not the result of climate change.

Yes, major hurricanes are a “rarity” for the Northeast, however between 1954 and 1955 (a time when CO2 levels were below the prescribed 350 PPM), the east coast was hit with five major hurricanes. The difference is that Sandy happened to hit the news center of the world, thus it made big news.

What about the “scorching heat waves” or “freakish weather?”

I’ve previously addressed the lack of warming over the past 16 years, but a review of temperature records (as provided by NOAA) for our fifty states brings some interesting perspective. For example, South Dakota has a high temperature record of 120 degrees F—certainly that is “scorching”—but it was set in 1936. Seventy years later, almost to the day, South Dakota, once again, hit a high of 120 F. We see similar records in Connecticut where the high is 106 F—reached in 1916 and 1995. Kansas has been as high as 121 F twice—both in July of 1936, where Maine has hit 105 F twice—both in July of 1911. Maryland’s high is 109 F—between 1898 and 1936 the state has was that hot 6 times. Within this past summer’s heat wave, not a single new state temperature record.

And the “freakish weather?” This summer, a “fast-moving, long-lived, large, and violent thunderstorm complex” hit Washington, DC. Regarding this storm, known as a “derecho”—Spanish for straight, a fast-moving line of severe “straight-line” winds associated with a squall of violent thunderstorms—Jason Samenow, of the Washington Post’s “Capital Weather Gang,” wrote: “It raises the question about the possible role of manmade climate warming (from elevated greenhouse concentrations).” Yet, the 2012 derecho that hit DC, was really par for the course—however, like Sandy, this one happened to hit a population center filled with influencers and decision makers. Derechos are fairly common—expected throughout the Midwest and east coast, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, from one every four years to four every three years. Derechos were first recorded in 1888, based on a significant derecho event that crossed Iowa on July 31, 1877.

But, the climate alarmists can’t be bothered with facts. An article titled: “UN Climate scientist: Sandy no coincidence,” attributes the following to van Ypersele: “The scientific backing for man-made climate change is now so strong that it can be compared to the consensus behind the principles of gravity. It’s a very, very broad consensus. There are a few individuals who don’t believe it, but we are talking about science and not beliefs.”

Last week, I had lunch with 5 scientists from different disciplines: a meteorologist, a geologist, a physicist, a hydrologist, and an engineer with expertise in computer modeling. While they may have argued the finer points, each was steadfast in his conviction that climate change is not a man-made crisis. Each cited stories of confronting a climate change alarmist with the facts, only to be rebuffed—“the science is settled.” Each affirmed that true science isn’t done by consensus. A scientist welcomes the challenge—and when the science is settled (such as the principles of gravity), it stands up to the challenge.

Using fear as a motivator, the climate change talks operate from an assumed “consensus” of “a warming world is a dangerous world, with flooding of coastal cities and island nations, disruptions to agriculture and drinking water, and the spread of diseases and the extinction of species.” But as my lunch with five scientists—all just from New Mexico—represents, there is not “consensus” (even if that were how science worked). As the data I’ve cited make clear, “monster storms,” “scorching heat waves,” and “freakish weather” have happened throughout the ages (and will continue)—before the industrial revolution and before CO2 had risen to supposedly alarming levels.

So, if the globe has stopped warming and if Superstorm Sandy was really just another strong hurricane that happened to hit the most populated portion of the United States with never-before-seen consequences, what are 17,000 people doing this week in Doha, Qatar? Perhaps it is, as so many spokespersons reference, really about the Green Climate Fund, the financial commitments. Or is it, as stated in CFACT’s Doha update: “UN’s Green Climate Fund to cost you,” really a “massively wasteful UN slush fund?”

Author’s note: Special thanks to meteorologist Robert W. Endlich for the assistance with the historical data.

 

ARTICLE: A look at economic/energy solutions from both sides

The stalemate going on in Washington about the fiscal cliff highlights the two very different economic viewpoints held, not just in Washington, but across America: more government, more taxes; less spending, lower taxes. But there is a third prong that is largely absent from the discussion: growth and creating new wealth—and energy can play a big role, but it, too, has two divergent sides.

To have success, both sides need to feel that they are getting what they want.

Energy should be part of the current fiscal cliff discussions because all recessions since 1973 have been preceded by a spike in oil prices. In the last decade, we’ve seen a consistent climb in oil prices—with the average household’s gasoline expenditure now more than double what it was in 2002—coupled with a steady decline in Gross Domestic Product.

High energy costs are a drag on the economy—which is important to Republicans. But they also mean less federal and state tax revenues and lower revenues endanger entitlement programs—which are important to Democrats. Earlier this year, it was announced that Social Security is going to run out of money three years earlier than projected last year. The 2012 Social Security Trustees report states: “This is the largest actuarial deficit reported since prior to the 1983 Social Security amendments, and the largest single-year deterioration in the actuarial deficit since the 1994 Trustees Report.” The report cites “many factors.” However, it blamed “a surge in energy prices in 2011” for “lower average real earnings levels over the next 75 years than were projected.”

Energy can give both sides what they want. To achieve this, Democrats will need to understand that oil is important and Republicans will need to acknowledge that there is some role for government to play. Can both parties feel that they are getting what they want without sacrificing their core principles?

A new proposal put forth by the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC—a project of Securing America’s Future Energy [SAFE]) believes that there is a bipartisan solution that can improve the US economy, promote fiscal stability, and protect national security.  ESLC brings together two sides that don’t typically communicate, yet have a common interest: energy security.

One side is made up of high-volume oil consumers such as FedEx, Southwest Airlines, Coca-Cola, Waste Management, and Royal Caribbean International—and is chaired by FedEx’s Fred Smith. The other side is composed of former military leaders committed to improving US energy security through reduced oil dependence—led by former Marine Corps Commandant General P. X. Kelley. The oil consumers understand that rapid swings in prices directly affect the bottom line. The military leaders understand that US dependence on foreign oil limits our flexibility on foreign policy. Without the need for middle-eastern oil, our approach to Libya might have been totally different.

These two sides have come together and drafted: A National Strategy for Energy Security: Harnessing American Resources and Innovation. At a press conference where the proposal was released last week, co-chairs Smith and Kelley said: “As long as our nation remains dependent on oil, restoring economic growth and stabilizing our fiscal outlook will be undermined by the manipulated and volatile prices of a cartel-dominated global oil market. This report offers a framework for policymakers to leverage domestic energy abundance in support of mitigating the urgent and severe threat posed by oil dependence.”

Their plan includes some items that will be more attractive to Democrats and others with greater appeal for Republicans—though as Robbie Diamond, Founder, President and CEO of SAFE explains it, most of the suggestions will happen anyway within the next 30 years, but the plan lays out a path to expedite America’s energy security and economic recovery.

For example, Democrats will appreciate the proposal’s suggested “Energy Security Trust Fund,” seeded with revenue from new production—not new taxes; diversifying the fuel base of the transportation sector; and the suggestion that the Department of Energy “reorient” itself toward R & D activities to catalyze technologies most likely to improve US energy security.

While Republicans will warm to the plan’s ideas for development of energy resources in the Outer Continental Shelf—with coastal states granted revenue sharing as an incentive; state participation in developing “best practices” for hydraulic fracturing; and improved federal permitting processes for major energy projects by streamlining authority, promoting transparency, and reducing frivolous litigation. Something for both parties—while benefitting America with a unified plan.

In our conversation, Diamond emphasized that the plan calls for government investment in R & D, not in individual companies. R & D is a role that has been historically and successfully held by government. If the concepts can stand on their own, the consumers will choose them. By contrast, current government “investing” picks winners and losers, and the heavy emphasis on wind and solar resources does nothing to improve energy security—hence the idea of the DOE “reorientation.”

Diversification of the fuel base for the transportation sector is important, even though the myth of peak oil has been shattered. Because of the global market, geopolitical crises can create a supply shortage, or cartels can slow production—both can cause price spikes. The report points out that both Canada and Norway are oil self-sufficient, yet they still face global pricing. By incorporating America’s abundant supply of natural gas and plug in electric vehicles where feasible, the US needs less foreign oil and is less susceptible to market manipulations with its volatility, and, additionally, the US market is more secure.

While the US natural gas and oil boom won’t result in greatly reduced oil prices, maximizing production can make our economy stronger, create jobs, and lower the trade deficit—and should be encouraged while protecting the environment.

As avoiding the fiscal cliff will require some give and take on both sides, the National Strategy for Energy Security: Harnessing American Resources and Innovation proposal offers insight as to how the two sides could find a solution without sacrificing their core principles. The ESLC started with the goal: energy security—and then together mapped out ways to reach it. They didn’t put ideology first, as has been done on the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Agendas are being set right now in Washington, DC, and the economic boost and energy security America’s resources and innovation can provide should be part of the solution.

 

ARTICLE: The shale gas revolution: re-industrialize the economy, reshape the global energy market

The United States doesn’t usually look to Britain for guidance—the last time may have been when Winston Churchill was Prime Minister. That time has come again. This time, the US should follow the leadership of Prime Minister David Cameron, who last week said: “Britain must be at the heart of the shale gas revolution.” He pointed out that ignoring the “revolution” could be giving their economy “much higher energy prices than would otherwise be necessary.”

But, the most significant aspect of his comments may well be that the “shale gas revolution” has the potential to “re-industrialise” the economy. That one word—“re-industralise”—may hold the key to the Obama Administration’s opposition to our own “shale gas revolution.”

America’s own “shale gas revolution” is, in large part, responsible for the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recent announcement citing a 29% increase in natural gas production. The resource is so plentiful that supplies show a storage surplus and prices have remained near decade lows. As a result, in the past seven years, America has flipped from a potential liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer, to an exporter. Energy companies have proposed 16 projects to export LNG to Europe and Asia. The projects would, according to the New York Times, “generate thousands of construction jobs, spur further development of natural gas fields and generate lucrative export earnings.” Yet the Obama Administration has only approved one export terminal—stalling the economic development the remaining 15 projects would create.

According to Kathleen Sgamma, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for the Western Energy Alliance, there are two “concerns” preventing approval of the 15 pending projects:

1) Fear that LNG exports will raise the cost of natural gas and, therefore, hurt consumers, and

2) Fear that LNG exports will cause environmental harm.

To point number 1, it is interesting to note that one of the loudest opponents of the huge opportunity to generate “thousands of construction jobs” and “lucrative export earnings” (which would have a positive impact on our balance of payments) is Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). Markey, “a critic of both fracking and natural gas,” “has introduced two [now-failed] bills in Congress with the stated purpose of protecting US consumers from increased natural gas prices,” while preventing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from approving new LNG export terminals.

Following the approval of the first LNG export terminal, Markey issued a press release stating that LNG exports: “will increase electricity and heating prices for American consumers.” This is the same Markey of the Waxman-Markey bill (often referred to as the cap-and-trade bill), about which the Congressional Budget Office said would have a $175 per household annual cost—which Markey minimized by saying it was “the cost of about a postage stamp a day.” (Note: other reports found the annual per-household cost of the cap and trade bill to be $1500.) So, in 2009, he was okay with raising energy prices on consumers, yet now, in 2012, he wants to block LNG export terminals due to potential price increases for American consumers.

In a five-page letter to Secretary Steven Chu, dated January 4, 2012, in which Markey states: “I am worried that exporting America’s natural gas would raise energy costs for American consumers,” Markey calls upon the DOE to explore the “consequences” of exporting natural gas. He asks specifically for scenario comparisons: He asks specifically for scenario comparisons:

“Please compare this export scenario to a scenario in which no natural gas is exported, providing your near- and long-term expectations for

(1) domestic supply and consumer prices;

(2) U.S. economic competitiveness and manufacturing;

(3) consumption rates of oil, coal and natural gas in the United States and foreign countries; and

(4) greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and globally.”

Several such studies have been completed. One from the US EIA was released in January 2012 and found that “increased natural gas exports lead to higher domestic natural gas prices, increased domestic natural gas production, reduced domestic natural gas consumption, and increased natural gas imports from Canada via pipeline.” However, “the EIA also noted that U.S. natural gas prices are expected to increase even before considering the possibility of additional exports. Nonetheless, increased natural gas exports are expected to lead to higher domestic natural gas prices, although the precise amount depends on the ultimate level of exports and the rate of phasing in increased exports.”

Another report (an independent assessment done by the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions and Deloitte MarketPoint LLC), conversely, “found that any price increases resulting from US LNG exports would be quite minimal”—with an average price increase of 2% (according to a Bookings Institute report analyzing the various pricing studies that have been conducted on the impact of US LNG exports on the domestic price of natural gas).

Finally, on December 6, 2012 a new study was released from the DOE—which the Wall Street Journal reports is “central” to the Administration’s decision on approving exports and notes that “The Department of Energy had said it wouldn’t issue permits for exports to countries lacking a free-trade agreement with the U.S., until the study was done and it could be assured that exports were in the national interest.” The NYT reports: “domestic prices would not rise sharply as a result of exports and that export revenue would generally help most Americans.” And, the WSJ states: the “long-awaited government study” “has the potential to reshape the global energy market.” The report, which analyzed more than a dozen scenarios for US production and LNG exports found that “across all these scenarios, the U.S. was projected to gain net economic benefits.”

On Wednesday I was flying from Albuquerque to Denver. As luck would have it, I was seated between two men who were both involved in the natural gas industry—though neither knew each other. In preparation for my conversation with Kathleen Sgamma, I was reading up on the just-released study. I was reading an article titled: “Report: Natural Gas Exports Would Benefit US Economy,” when I came upon this:

Across all these scenarios, the U.S. was projected to gain net economic benefits from allowing LNG exports. Moreover, for every one of the market scenarios examined, net economic benefits increased as the level of LNG exports increased. In particular, scenarios with unlimited exports always had higher net economic benefits than corresponding cases with limited exports.

I laughed. I read the quote to my seat partners, who also laughed. We questioned why this was even news. Then I read the next line—which not part of the report, but part of the article: “Some in the oil and gas industry contend the idea is a no-brainer.” Touché.

If this is a “no-brainer,” why the delay? Why did, in August 2012, a bipartisan group of lawmakers (ten Democrats and thirty-four Republicans) write a letter intended to pressure the Obama Administration to speed up approval for pending LNG export applications? Because, as Sgamma told me, the Administration has ceded power to environmentalists who have all kinds of excuses.

The WSJ supports Sgamma’s claim. The WSJ article points to Obama’s “political risk because of criticism from environmental groups, which have been among his strongest supporters.” Addressing the opposition, it says: “Environmental groups, meanwhile, fear that allowing exports would encourage more natural-gas production.” Sgamma told me: “The environmentalists hate that we have this abundance of natural gas.”

The Sierra Club has spearheaded opposition to new LNG export terminals. In response to the new report, Sierra Club executive director, Michael Brune says: “It is baffling that this report omits the serious threats increased fracking and gas production pose to our water, our air, and the health of our families.”

As I frequently cite, based on my own study of environmental groups goals regarding energy (as found in my book Energy Freedom), environmentalists would rather have us all living in caves. They oppose shale gas development and fracking—as evidenced by the Sierra Club’s position reversal on natural gas, found in its new “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign—for fear, as PM David Cameron said, regarding England, it could “re-industrialise” the economy. Just days after Cameron made this statement, the British government gave fracking the “green light.” Now, with the release of this newest report, it is time for the US to follow the UK’s lead and allow the shale gas revolution to reshape the global energy market. The Administration needs to stop dragging its feet and give the pending applications for LNG export terminals the green light.

Sgamma affirms that “Western producers are able to increase production as natural gas is exported abroad. We have the capability in the West to meet the growth in demand that would result, as indicated by the current oversupply of natural gas. Western producers are able to ramp up production to meet export demands, while maintaining an abundant supply of affordable energy for the domestic market as well. … Economists have not fully appreciated how available spare capacity today, constant improvements in technology, and new discoveries into the future will likely maintain the downward pressure on price.”

She closed our conversation with these important questions: “How much worse does the economy have to get? How much longer are the American people willing to tolerate policies that prevent job creation and economic growth today?”

Remember, it is the Obama Administration, under pressure from environmentalists and the likes of Rep. Markey, which is preventing US consumers from benefitting from an “increase in wealth transfer and export revenues.” The economic benefits, as proven by the latest study, far outweigh the potential for higher energy prices. It is time to allow the shale gas revolution to reshape the global energy market.

These articles were submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.


Marita Noon on Energy Part II

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment

The following articles have been combined from several submissions by Marita Noon during the month of October. – Editor

Politics above all else

Politics above science; politics above economics—together these two philosophies have created “true sustainability.”

We first saw the impact in the science world. Global warming was touted as a catastrophic threat to life on earth. Modern life was deemed to be the cause.

More specifically, the blame fell to the burning of hydrocarbons—which are the source of the abundant, affordable, and available energy that has given the developed world its many advantages and luxuries. Carbon footprint guilt was heaped upon big energy-consuming countries. After all, we were ruining the planet.

Change was needed to slow the rise of the oceans.

This opened the door for a whole host of policies aimed at reducing the use of fossil fuels. A Renewable Portfolio Standard—which mandates a set percentage of electricity be from renewable sources (mainly wind and solar)—is law in more than half the states.

Cap and trade was proposed and passed by the House. Because it didn’t make it through the Senate, the EPA has been successfully bringing about the end goal through regulation. On a global scale, oil and coal have been demonized and natural gas is next. Untold billions have been poured into wind and solar subsidies.

The supposed “science” behind global warming—which morphed into climate change, paved the way for politics above economics.

The Obama Administration’s stimulus allocated $80-90 billion for green energy—even though the economics didn’t add up. Companies like Solyndra and A123 Systems (the first and the most recent domino to fall) received loans, grants, and, tax incentives to produce “green energy,” despite the junk-bond ratings that prevented private equity from jumping in until taxpayer dollars were committed.

The majority of the recipients of the funds had favored status—they had connections to high-ranking Democrats such as President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, or Senator Diane Feinstein (just to name a few)—politics above economics.

Interestingly, a series of emails exposed global warming, er, climate change, and the funding of green energy to be the scams that they are. Together they are “sustainable.”

On global warming, the “climategate” emails revealed that data had been manipulated and suppressed to produce the desired results.

On green energy, emails that came to light in the hearings held by the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight showed how political connections were used to push loan guarantees through and expedite permits.

Within the past week some interesting details came to light on both scams.

On October 13, The UK Daily Mail newspaper brought out some new data. The Met Office, a British government agency described on its website as “a world leader in providing weather and climate services,” released some new data on climate change that seem to conflict with the generally accepted view of catastrophic manmade global warming.

Back in March, the Met Office promoted data from 1998-2010 that supported the idea that the world had warmed even more than expected in the past ten years. They sent out a press release and held briefings for journalists.

However, when the full dataset—up through August 2012—was released, showing that “the world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago,” the Met Office issued the new data “quietly on the internet without any fanfare.” The Daily Mail quotes Professor Phil Jones, of the climategate scandal fame, as admitting that “the climate models are imperfect,” and quotes Professor Judith Curry, head of the climate science department at Georgia Tech as agreeing that the computer models used to predict future warming were “deeply flawed.”

The new data “poses a fundamental challenge to the assumptions underlying every aspect of energy and climate change policy.”

On October 12, the Denver Post featured a guest commentary from Roger Pielke Jr., professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Titled “Climate spin is rampant,” Pielke addresses the “willing media” “spreading misinformation.” He states: “The logic behind such tactics is apparently that a sufficiently scared public will support the political program of those doing the scaring.”

While not directly referencing the Met Office’s quiet data release, Pielke cites Andrew Revkin, “who has covered the climate issue for decades for the New York Times.” Revkin explains that “the media tend to pay outsize attention to research developments that support a ‘hot’ conclusion … and glaze over on research of equivalent quality that does not.” Surely this is what happened with the Met’s report.

Pielke concludes his commentary with these words: “There is one group that should be very concerned about the spreading of rampant misinformation: the scientific community. It is, of course, thrilling to appear in the media and get caught up in highly politicized debates.

But leading scientists and scientific organizations that contribute to a campaign of misinformation—even in pursuit of a worthy goal like responding effectively to climate change—may find that the credibility of science itself is put at risk by supporting scientifically unsupportable claims in pursuit of a political agenda.”

Politics above science. But this politically driven “science” is needed to support politics above economics.

On October 15, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial discussing the special treatment Solyndra, the bankrupt solar manufacturer, received from the Department of Energy: “Solyndra’s investors could be rewarded for their failures.” The WSJ claims that “Solyndra’s only real assets are what the IRS calls ‘tax attributes.’”

The short version is that Solyndra’s investors, who finagled a deal to subordinate taxpayer repayment rights to private investors, could emerge from bankruptcy with the ability to apply the net operating losses (NOL) against the profits of a profitable company owned by the same investors. What is interesting is who the “investors” are.

WSJ states that Argonaut Ventures I LLC is “Solyndra’s largest shareholder and the primary investment arm of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Mr. Kaiser is a Tulsa oil billionaire who bundled campaign checks for Mr. Obama in 2008.”

Emails revealed through the Solyndra bankruptcy show that Steve Mitchell, Argonaut’s managing director, wrote these words to Kaiser: “The DOE thinks politically before it thinks economically”—politics above economics. After Obama called Solyndra a “testament to American ingenuity and dynamism,” apparently the DOE wanted to “delay the Solyndra crack-up that was fast becoming inevitable.” Solyndra needed the “loan’s remaining $95 million immediately, instead of in monthly drawdowns, and to restructure its terms.” For Kaiser, the NOLs were the “consolation prize.”

The “true sustainability?” Government funds climate change research that supports the “catastrophic” messaging. Science and media willingly cooperate. Catastrophic reports provide the foundation for “green energy” investments that go to Obama—and other high-ranking Democrats—campaign donors.

Investors get special favors—like the Solyndra taxpayer subordination—and come out on top. They, then, donate to the campaigns—getting their “friends” re-elected. The perpetual motion machine keeps running at the taxpayers’ expense—all to “evade political accountability.”

We know the story with Solyndra. Last week, A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy. Who knows what special deals they got? We won’t know before the election. There are 14 other stimulus-funded green-energy companies that have gone bankrupt—though the number could be higher. It will likely take years for the details of each deal to be exposed.

This is what happens when politics take precedence above all else. Obama’s economic model picks winners and losers and misallocates capital, while sticking it to the taxpayers.

Perhaps this is why Obama’s crony rich friends are willing to agree to higher taxes for millionaires and billionaires—they have their “tax attributes” in their NOLs (paid for by the average, middle-class taxpayer).

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

We need it here: the O’Reilly Factor

It seems that every time there is a spike in gasoline prices, Bill O’Reilly chimes in with his idea that if we produce it here, we should use it here. He’s even proposed a special tax on exports of petroleum products. He somehow believes that, even though oil is a global commodity, it would cost less for Americans if we kept it all here.

O’Reilly has a big listening audience, and if you don’t understand oil, the global markets, and what it truly takes to be “energy independent”—which most people don’t have time to think about—O’Reilly makes sense. Instead of the 2008 election cycle slogan: “Drill here. Drill now. Save money,” his mantra would be: “Produce here. Use it here. Save money.” People trust O’Reilly and the folks have embraced his ideas on energy—particularly when it comes to oil.

I know this because I do a lot of radio interviews and speaking engagements where I answer questions from audience members (and talk show hosts) and they bring up the “We need it here” philosophy. Sometimes they even mention O’Reilly’s name, almost daring me to disagree. I do disagree. But, I never felt like I knew enough to go deep on the “export” issue. I knew enough to provide an adequate answer and have even written on the topic. I wanted to understand it better.

With this in mind, I was especially pleased when I received notice about a new study, released this past week, from the Manhattan Institute. “Liberating the energy economy: what Washington must do” is authored by Mark Mills—Mills writes the “Energy Intelligence” column for Forbes and is the coauthor of The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy. Mills has been an unwitting mentor of mine.

I’ve learned well. Much of what the study addresses I’ve written on. For example, Mills says, “It is now realistic for America not just to feed the world, but to fuel it as well. … The United States can quite literally drill, dig, build, and ship its way out of the current economic and jobs malaise. … This growth in energy abundance occurred without policies intended to encourage it, and it has happened almost entirely on private and state—not federal—lands. … The new reality of hydrocarbon abundance makes possible not only energy independence but also a credible scenario in which the Middle East is displaced as the world’s primary energy exporter.” If you regularly read my column, these themes should have a familiar ring.

Mills’ comment about America not only feeding the world, but fueling it as well, was an “ah-ha” moment for me—especially in relationship to the idea of exporting our domestic resources.

America is the world’s largest exporter of wheat. We grow so much that we have more than we need. The same can be said for many other food supplies—both grown and raised. America truly does feed the world. When we export food, no one squawks: “Don’t export, it will make our prices higher.”

Or, “We need to keep it all here.” On some years, due to a drought, perhaps, there may be less supply. Disease may decimate the pig population. When that is the case, the prices go up. In other years, weather conditions are perfect, and there is a bumper crop; herds are healthy—the prices go down. Whether wheat or pigs, the food supplies are a global commodity, priced by the global markets and influenced by supply and demand.

There are variables in growing our food supplies. We cannot predict—try as we may—what the exact production will be, nor what the exact need will be. As a result, we produce as much as we can and sell the excess to a hungry world. Our ability to produce more than we need gives us independence and allows us to export.

If we tried to only produce exactly what we needed—but weather caused a drastic drop in production, we’d have to import from others at a much higher price. The fact that we produce more than we need gives us food security. Exporting food supplies helps bring an element of balance to our trade deficit.

As Mills explained to me, our energy security is much the same. Currently, we are not energy secure—or, more accurately stated, oil secure. We are dependent on the production surpluses of other countries such as Saudi Arabia. The availability of their oil can be controlled by a whim, or by geopolitics. When more is available, global prices go down; less, up.

America’s new-found wealth in natural resources—specifically oil and natural gas—means that we can have energy security—which comes from having excess; more than we need so we can export. If we truly want energy independence which every president since Nixon has espoused, then isolationism is the wrong approach.

I can just hear O’Reilly: “You’re all wrong. We can grow more wheat. We can raise more pigs. Oil is a finite resource.”

This is because O’Reilly, and many Americans, are stuck in the 1970s’ paradigm: “There is an energy shortage.” As Mills says, “If the last four years have shown us anything, it is that the technology makes our supplies fundamentally unlimited. We will not run out.”

Mills’ report states: “Technology is now doing for the American energy and fuel sectors what it previously did for the agriculture sector. … Last year the United States exported almost $140 billion in agriculture goods and about $120 billion in hydrocarbons. Within a year or so, we will likely export more fuel and petroleum products than food.”

According to a recent US Energy Information Administration summary of the nation’s “proven reserves” of oil and natural gas, the United States has reversed a 40-year decline in oil output to become the world’s fastest-growing hydrocarbon region—North Dakota’s Bakken Field is just one of many examples.

“Policies that accelerate hydrocarbon production could create at least 3 million jobs and $3-$7 trillion worth of economic benefits, radically resetting energy geopolitics” is a point supported by the “Liberating the Energy Economy” study. Mills claims that there are only three impediments preventing America from enjoying the associated trade, jobs, and revenue benefits that could come from fueling the world—and each could be solved with the stroke of the executive order pen:

  • Complexity—Expansion and imposition of new rules within all federal agencies has added layer upon layer of requirements which creates ever-greater complexity as different agencies have different objectives, interpretations, cultures and even directives.
  • Creep—Without consideration of cost and without accountability, rules and regulations, and how they are interpreted, have moved away from the original intent.
  • Capriciousness—The growth in regulations creates confusions and unintended conflicts in purpose and implementation, resulting in daunting compliance challenges.

President Obama’s favorite word of this campaign cycle seems to be “fair.” Agriculture products, and just about everything else, can be exported without special permission—the Department of Agriculture even has an office dedicated to “export assistance.” Yet, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 prohibits the export of unprocessed crude oil. How is that “fair?”

The world has changed. The United States is now in a position to be the most important source of both food and fuel—but bold policies are required. It is time to find the political will to reset the national energy framework to take advantage of the new resource abundance and employment potential—this is a revolution that can take place without one penny of taxpayer money.

The launch of a credible long-term national supply strategy to support and expand North American energy production will help mitigate price swings caused by unexpected constraints on other supplies or unexpected global demand—bringing certainty into the market. And that, O’Reilly, helps the “folks.”

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Where are the 5 million green jobs Obama promised?

In Thursday night’s Vice Presidential debate, the Administration’s green agenda was, once again, part of the verbal sparring. The exchange ended with Congressman Ryan’s unanswered question: “Where are the 5 million green jobs…?” Moderator Martha Raddatz cut him off mid-question, steering the conversation elsewhere: “I want to move on here to Medicare and entitlements. I think we’ve gone over this quite enough.”

Ryan didn’t finish his question. Vice President Biden wasn’t pressed into an uncomfortable answer that would have wiped the smile off his face.

Had Ryan not been interrupted and been allowed to finished the question, he likely would have continued: “…Candidate Obama promised in 2008 when he pledged to jumpstart the economy with an influx of green jobs.

Many times, he specifically stated: ‘I will invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create 5 million new energy jobs over the next decade—jobs that pay well; jobs that can’t be outsourced; jobs building solar panels and wind turbines and a new electricity grid; jobs building the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow, not in Japan, not in South Korea but right here in the U.S. of A. Jobs that will help us eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East in 10 years and help save the planet in the bargain. That’s how America can lead again.’ Where are those green jobs?”

Had Biden answered, he might have tried the same line Obama used in the 60 Minutes interview clip that didn’t air on national television: “We have tens of thousands of jobs that have been created as a consequence of wind energy alone”—though that hardly adds up to 5 million.

Try as he might, Biden couldn’t have smiled his way through a recitation of green jobs created through the proposed $15 billion a year. It is not a happy story. In fact, through the 2009 stimulus, more than $15 billion a year was allocated for green energy projects—which in his four-year term would have added up to $60 billion. Instead, while the numbers quoted vary, $80-90 billion has been made available for green energy projects.

With the assistance of researcher Christine Lakatos, I have been chronicling Obama’s stimulus-funded green energy failures. First we looked at the companies that have gone bankrupt, and then those that are heading that way—or, at least, have financial issues. Within those reports, we frequently addressed specific green jobs failures. For example, regarding Fisker, the electric car made in Finland, we say:

ABC reported: ‘Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright, new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs.’ Those jobs didn’t materialize—at least not in America. … Two years after the loan was awarded, the Washington Post stated that Fisker ‘has missed early manufacturing goals and has gradually pushed back plans for U.S. production and the creation of thousands of jobs’…

Now, in 2012, Fisker Automotive is laying off staff in order to qualify for more government loans. So, President Obama’s ‘green’ energy stimulus was supposed to create jobs; now it’s destroying jobs so that companies can get more stimulus?”

About now-bankrupt, and under-investigation for fraud, Abound Solar, we wrote: “President Obama, in July 2010, praised Abound Solar, which was to make advanced solar panels … He believed these plants would be huge job creators: ‘2000 construction jobs and 1500 permanent jobs.’ In December 2011, CEO Craig Witsoe called Abound Solar the “anti-Solyndra” saying that his company is “doing well and growing.” However, just months after that optimistic report, Abound Solar filed bankruptcy…”

Due to the various loans, grants, and subsidies, it would take an investigative team made up of dozens of people to ferret out each and every true green-energy job that was created, absent that, we are hitting the high points in attempt to answer Ryan’s question: “Where are the 5 million green jobs?”

Short answer, even optimistically—and perhaps deceptively, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) news release, only 3.1 million green jobs were created. To reach this number, BLS counts jobs that “were associated with the production of green goods and services,” specifically those which “are found in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.”It is important to note that most of these 3.1 million jobs are primarily pre-existing jobs that have been reclassified as “green.”

Once those existing jobs were shifted into the green column, through three-quarters of 2011 only 9,245 new “green” jobs were generated when the White House touts generating over 200,000 new jobs by 2010. The House Oversight Committee wondered, just what are those jobs that are “associated with the production of green goods and services?”

On June 6, 2012, at a House Oversight hearing Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) questioned BLS Director John Galvin on his agency’s green jobs numbers. Through Galvin’s reluctant responses (he didn’t want to be there), we learned that the Obama administration’s labor department counts oil lobbyists, bus drivers, garbage men, etc., as green jobs—shameful, embarrassing, deceptive. According to how BLS rates green jobs, I have a green job. I qualify under several headings. After all, I do education and public awareness on environmental issues.

Next time I am at a social event, where I am asked the inescapable: “What do you do?” I’ll respond: “I have a green job.” Complete details can be found in a report on the “Green Job Myth” from the Institute for Energy Research (IER). It states: “the green-job definition is extremely broad and includes both direct and indirect jobs.”  Each of the following would qualify:

A person who sweeps the floor in a solar-panel manufacturing facility

A driver of a hybrid bus

A school bus driver

An employee who fills the bus with fuel

An employee involved in waste collection or water and sewer operations

A clerk at a bicycle repair shop

A manufacturer of rail cars

An oil lobbyist whose company is engaged in environmental issues

An employee of an environment or science museum.

Now that we know what the BLS constitutes as a green job—even recycled ones; those that already existed—we’ll look at the billions of taxpayer money spent on green jobs. We’ll focus specifically on just two programs: the Loan Guarantee Program and the Renewable Energy Grant Program.

On June 19, 2012, Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, testified at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearings on the Loan Guarantee program.

Within her thorough assessment of the program, she states: “since 2009, Department of Energy has guaranteed $34.7 billion in loans, 46 percent through the 1705 loan program, 30 percent through the 1703 program, and 14 percent through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.” And, that “some 2,378 permanent jobs were claimed to be created under the program. This works out to a potential cost per job of $6.7 million.”

The 1603 Grant Program was implemented as part of the Obama stimulus, and is administered by the Treasury Department, with the goal of reimbursing eligible applicants for a portion of the costs of installing specified energy property used in a trade or business or for the production of income. Basically, 1603 gives billions in favored-businesses, tax-free cash gifts that do not have to be paid back.The June 19, 2012 Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on “The Federal Green Jobs Agenda,” highlighted the “gimmick” accounting method used by the BLS.

Testimony revealed that a multi-billion dollar stimulus program, the section 1603 grants for renewable energy, does not even include job creation among its primary objectives—which obviously contradicts the purpose of the 2009 trillion-dollar Obama stimulus package.

Congressional Research Services expert, Dr. Molly Sherlock, deflected direct questions regarding the total jobs created by the 1603 program. “If you’re looking at the direct jobs, this one estimate has direct jobs created at 3,666 in the construction phase, and direct jobs created at 355. Direct jobs would just be the construction jobs and the ongoing operations and maintenance jobs. But if you wanted to look at the supporting jobs in other industries then you’d want to look at the other figures.”

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) pressed on: “I just want to know how many jobs were created”Sherlock admitted: 355 jobs created a year, for $10 billion—which comes out to about $28 million per job.These two programs have created a combined total of 2733 jobs (a recent Bloomberg Business Week tally of all green jobs through any program cites a total of 28,854 jobs) and are spending an approximate average of $9.1 million per job. (At this rate, to create the 5 million promised jobs, we’d have to spend $45 trillion—not the $150 billion proposed.) I’ll quote Obama Campaign Official Stephanie Cutter here: “It’s really impossible to do the math.”

But, at least, as the 2008 campaign promise stated, these are “jobs that can’t be outsourced,” right? Wrong.There are plenty of green jobs going overseas and taking our money with them. According to CNS News, “The Obama administration allowed millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds to go to foreign companies, despite recent statements by President Barack Obama that he opposes ‘shipping jobs overseas.’”Billions from the 1603 Grant Program went to foreign wind turbine manufacturers—of the 8,317 turbines installed at major wind projects that received 1603 awards, 4,513 turbines (54.3%) came from foreign manufacturers.Fisker Automotive received a $529 million ATVM loan that went in part to build their expensive Fisker Karma car in Finland, and according to ABC News, “Fisker may never build electric cars in the US.”

Meanwhile, First Solar received over $3 billion from the DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program. During the May 16, 2012 House Oversight Committee hearing, Issa surmised that First Solar is “not an American company.” It turns out that the numbers don’t lie because CEO Mike Ahearn admitted: “in sheer numbers, most of our fulltime [employees] are outside the US.”Just a few examples of helping our economy by creating green American jobs. So much for “made in the USA.”

Before his departure, Obama’s routed green jobs czar, Van Jones, approved a $5 billion home weatherization program that supposedly outfitted homes (mainly for the economically disadvantaged) with the latest green technology in order to reduce energy prices.This was another part of the 2009-stimulus, which in February 2009, Obama declared: “We’re going to weatherize homes, that immediately puts people back to work and we’re going to train people who are out of work, including young people, to do the weatherization.”

Three years into the program, all we got was excessive waste, fraud and abuse, plus more cronyism and corruption—no “Americans back to work.”In fact, “evidence gathered by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform suggests that the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program (Weatherization Program) is a stunning example of a management failure which has wasted billions of dollars, done little to achieve energy savings, and may have put people’s lives and homes at risk. While the program may have been a “failure” in terms of the stated goal, Obama’s pals back in Chicago came out winners.

But there are other examples of total inefficiency on the dollars/jobs ratio—interestingly these can be found in another program designed to improve energy efficiency: Retrofit Ramp Up. This program, from the DOE, used “stimulus dollars to have homes insulated and made more energy efficient.” Perhaps Biden remembers inviting Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn to the White House as a part of the Retrofit Ramp Up program. Seattle was one of 25 communities to receive a $20 million dollar slice of the $452 million program.

According to a report in The Blaze, the retrofit program used “Stimulus dollars to have houses insulated and made more energy efficient. The plan was to funnel cash into local economies with the intent to create good-paying green jobs while simultaneously reducing energy consumption. … Seattle’s $20 million dollar allocation was projected to create some 2000 “green jobs” and retrofit at least 2000 homes.”However according to Seattle’s KOMO TV, Seattle’s green jobs program is a bust.

One year after McGinn joined Biden at the White House, KOMO reports: “Seattle’s numbers are lackluster. As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program. Many of the jobs are administrative, and not the entry-level pathways once dreamed of for low-income workers. Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable.”You might be surprised to know that $500,000 of the taxpayer-funded stimulus spending went to a PR firm to “run a barrage of ads on White-House friendly cable programs.”

The ads promoted the green jobs training program.The cable shows? “According to government records, the Labor Department paid the money in late 2009 to a company that negotiated a media buy on MSNBC’s ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ and ‘The Rachel Maddow Show.’ The ad was set to run more than 100 times –– 14 times a week for two months,” yet “the official online entry on the contract listed zero jobs created as a result of the payment.”

There are other stories, such as the one reported by USA Today, in which, according to a government report, $500 million in green job training grants reached just 10% of its job-placement goal. Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates defends the initiative, citing that “it was never designed to provide immediate results.” One grant recipient, Jeffry Lewis of Pathstone Corp., a Rochester, N.Y. non-profit that spent $2.3 million of its $8 million grant and had trained only 25 people, “conceded that job placements have been much slower than anyone would have liked.”

Then, there is the story from Fox News on a whistleblower, who says his college won millions in federal grants to train workers for green jobs that didn’t exist.

Seattle’s KOMO may have most aptly summed up the entire 2008 green-jobs campaign promise: “Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable.”

I don’t think so.

There is one other part of the 2008 campaign promise that I must address. Obama talked about these jobs of the future: “jobs building solar panels and wind turbines and a new electricity grid … Jobs that will help us eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East.”

I have to point out that jobs “building solar panels and wind turbines and a new electricity grid” do nothing, absolutely nothing, to “help us eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East.” Wind and solar produce electricity—with which Middle Eastern oil has virtually no connection (unless you tie in the failed electric car efforts).

We have enough coal, natural gas, and uranium within our borders to provide for our electrical needs for centuries to come. Connecting electricity generation and Middle Eastern oil is at best a marketing campaign, at worst: a scare tactic. To “help eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East,” we need to develop our abundant domestic oil resources, not subsidize wind and solar.

While millions of Americans were preparing to watch the debate, I was part of a group gathered in a restaurant to watch the debate between New Mexico’s senatorial candidates: Republican Heather Wilson (my former Congressman) and Democrat Martin Heinrich (my current Congressman). Toward the end of our local debate, Heinrich accused Republicans of turning “their back on the jobs of the future.” With the history of the “jobs of the future,” as Obama called them in the 60 Minutes clip, the Republicans have been wise to turn their backs and run far, far away.

Where are the 5 million jobs Obama promised? I doubt that Biden’s smiling now.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Women care about more than contraception

To listen to the mainstream media’s coverage of the so-called war on women, you’d think the entire election will be won or lost, based on contraception and its availability. But women care passionately about other issues—such as energy, too. Last week, the Independence Institute held a debate organized by, featuring, and for women—about energy. Four of us sparred for 90 minutes. We would have kept at it far longer had the moderator, a woman, not brought it to a close. Each of us had much more to say.

The debate was billed as “Minivan or Smart Car.” We discussed car choice and CAFE Standards, safety, and public transportation. Our opinions represented very different world views. Two of us generally favored less government/more freedom. Two advocated for more government involvement for the greater good. All four of us firmly believed in our positions.

Our viewpoints parallel the greater divide in America, the divide that will ultimately decide the election.

Through these two very different views on energy, that even women care about, one can view the election. I’ll call one side Freedom and the other side Government (with a capitol G). These are huge subjects, but here’s a review of the real debate. This isn’t just the debate that took place on October 10 in Denver, Colorado, it is representative of the bigger debate going on throughout America.

Car Choice and CAFE Standards

Hyundai had an ad campaign that sums up the Freedom side of the argument: “It’s not that complicated, if gas costs a lot of money, we’ll build cars that use less of it.” Bottom line, if the consumer demands higher fuel efficiency cars, manufacturers will build them because they are what sells.

America was at a competitive disadvantage in the fuel-efficiency category. Did they step up to the plate because government created mandates known as CAFE Standards or because people wanted better MPG? Obviously Government and Freedom would hold different sides of this debate.

The CAFE Standards took away public choice. Yes, some people wanted smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient cars. Freedom says consumer demand would have forced the car companies to produce them without government interference.

But, the CAFE Standards killed what was the staple vehicle of its day: the station wagon. The CAFE Standards—which stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy—required that all the vehicles in the passenger car fleet meet certain fuel efficiency standards. The big, heavy station wagon that hauled the family got maybe 10 MPG. It had to go.

New little, lighter vehicles replaced it. The fleet average now met the government mandate. But families still needed transporting. Enter, the minivan. Built on a truck frame, it was exempt from the original standards. Consumer demand created a way around the mandates.

Freedom believes that CAFE Standards are an outmoded model, based on the idea that there is an oil shortage—therefore we need to be forced to use less of it. Apparently, Government isn’t aware of the vast resources in Alaska, North Dakota, or the Green River Formation.

Government vehemently proclaims: “There is no way the US can produce all the oil to drive all our cars.” Therefore, we need electric cars—and, yes, government should “incentivize” the entrance of this new concept into the mature market. This, Government believes, will produce greater technology, more jobs, and a robust economy. Plus, better fuel efficiency and electric cars means less oil consumption and “every bit of oil we don’t put in our cars makes us independent.”

The Government side argues that no one tells you what to drive or buy and that CAFE Standards provided the incentive to make better cars. This way government encourages technology. Using the argument that we all have a house full of different chargers for our electronic devices, Government believes there should be a mandated standard.

Safety

Because the CAFE Standards forced the creation of lighter, smaller vehicles, Freedom believes safety is compromised—mass matters. “Smaller cars, by physics, kill people.”

Government posited that it is not the size that matters but the engineering—after all look at NASCAR. They have fierce wrecks at high speeds and seldom is any one killed. Freedom: Yes, but at what cost? Government chirped: “An extra $2000 on a car vs. my kid in the hospital is a complete no brainer.”

Freedom, once again focuses on choice. There are very safe, expensive cars. But, “Safety isn’t free.” For many people tradeoffs are required. Many factors go into a vehicle selection and price is a big one for most people.

Plus, cars are safer in that you are less likely to get mugged than you would if you were using public transportation and walking blocks in the dark.

Public Transportation

The mass transit topic brought up an interesting “waste” discussion. Government thinks we’ve built our society based on waste. “Our demonstration of wealth is how much space we can enclose whatever we have—bigger houses, bigger cars, fatter bodies.

That’s how we demonstrate our prowess.” This mindset carries into big cars carrying one person. Government claimed that we waste time commuting—3-4 weeks a year. That really hurts the economy because driving in a car is not productive time; not contributing to the economy.

Freedom sees a car commute as flexibility. I can make phone calls (using my Bluetooth, of course), listen to educational materials, or simply adjust from the work day to home-time. Additionally, a car, vs. mass transit, saves time.

We can use our time the way we want to, going directly from point A to C without having to get off at B and change tracks—and without someone else controlling when we come and go. In many cases, a car commute actually takes less time than public transportation.

Both Government and Freedom acknowledge that which works better for the individual depends on where you live—but Government advocates high density as more efficient. Freedom believes that people’s time and lives matter.

Once again, Freedom looked at the cost as everyone, through taxes, subsidizes public transportation. Government thought the tradeoff was worth it because it cuts down on emissions and fuel consumption—having a positive impact on the “commons.”

The debate rages on around water coolers, kitchen tables, and on television.

You can listen to our whole debate online. We’re more than just busy bodies; we are women discussing important issues that matter to us—and all Americans.

You can watch the Presidential debates on television. While the talking points may be different from those in our energy debate, the general themes will echo the freedom vs. government philosophies—two very different views of America. On November 6, each of us will have our say.

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Romney to Obama: “You pick the losers”

Mitt Romney’s comment about President Obama’s acumen as a public equity investor: “You pick the losers,” has put Obama’s failed green energy emphasis under the microscope, bringing into question: have any been a success? Well, some haven’t failed, yet.

In our last report, Obama Never Admits Green Energy Failure, we profiled 15 companies that each received funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—the stimulus—and have gone bankrupt. In Wednesday’s debate, Romney listed two of our “bankrupt” list: Solyndra, the best known, and Ener1, now known thanks to Romney; and two that haven’t failed, yet: Fisker and Tesla—both electric vehicle manufacturers.

Fisker and Tesla received their funding from the Advanced Technologies Vehicle Manufacturing Program (ATVM), but they are not the only two green energy stimulus-funded projects that are troubled. Here, in this report, we will profile twenty different companies/projects that received funding from various loan guarantee programs (LGP), grants, and tax incentives. These are projects that are still functioning, but are facing difficulties.

Because of the debate exposure, we’ll look first at Fisker and Tesla. Then we’ll move to those that were funded through the Department of Energy (DOE) LGPs 1703 and 1705.

Some of these companies/projects were profiled in our summer green-energy crony-corruption reports that focused on projects that shared these traits: junk bond-rated projects, Department of Interior (DOI) fast-tracked approvals, and politically connected. In these cases, we’ll link back to the original report that offers much more detail than we’ll include here.

The last group, listed in alphabetical order, includes companies/projects that received stimulus funds through other programs—though no less important.

As with the previous report, we’ll list the company/project name and the funds received. For those with political connections, for brevity’s sake, we’ll add an * after the name.

We’ll then include a description with some interesting details and links to additional information for those who want more or who want to check our research. Once again, I am collaborating with researcher Christine Lakatos.

Before we get to the profiles, here’s a quick overview of the primary funding mechanisms used for the Obama Administration’s pet green-energy public-equity investments.

The DOE’s Loan Guarentee Program

Since 2009, DOE has guaranteed $34.7 billion – 46% through the 1705 ($16 billion of which 90% are politically connected), 30% through the 1703 ($10.3 billion—AREVA and Georgia Power), and 14% through the ATVM ($8.4 billion and 3 of the five loans are tied directly to Obama).

1703 and ATVM were established prior to Obama—though the funds profiled here were all handed out by the Obama Administration.

The 1705 program was created by the stimulus package, of which we know that 23 of the 26 projects were “junk rated,” and of those same 26 projects, 90% are politically connected. In 2010, the Government Accountability Office, at the request of Congress, reviewed the execution of the LGP.

Their findings note that “LGP scope has expanded both in the types of projects it can support and in the amount of loan guarantee authority available. DOE currently has loan guarantee authority estimated at about $77 billion and is seeking additional authority.”

Three of the companies profiled in our report on the bankrupt projects were funded through the 1705 program: Solyndra, Beacon Power, and Abound Solar. Here, we will cover eight 1705 projects that are on life support or are having problems—putting close to $10 billion of taxpayer money at risk—approximately 1/3 of the $34.7 billion doled out through DOE LGP just to help out Obama and his Democrat cronies (100% of these projects have meaningful political connections).

Fisker and Tesla received ATVM funding.

For the next four years, let’s build the economy and support responsible energy; the stuff we know works: oil, gas, coal, and uranium/nuclear. When the economy is strong again, then we can “invest” in some R & D for the future.

Let’s pick projects that will benefit all Americans, winners, not losers.

ATVM Loans

Fisker Automotive* — $528.7

In September 2009, Fisker received the ATVM loan to build the $87,900 flashy plug-in Karma sports car. Reports at the time stated: “Fisker plans to use $169.3 million of its loan to work with U.S. suppliers to produce the more expensive Fisker Karma, which will be developed at its Michigan and California offices, but then will be assembled “overseas.”

The other $359.36 million will go toward producing “Fisker’s Project Nina, which will be entirely manufactured in the United States.” Fisker expected to “Become profitable by 2011.” ABC reported: “Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright, new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs.”

Those jobs didn’t materialize—at least not in America. The Karma was produced in Finland. Two years after the loan was awarded, the Washington Post stated that Fisker “has missed early manufacturing goals and has gradually pushed back plans for U.S. production and the creation of thousands of jobs” and announced that the Karma “failed to meet a promised energy-efficiency standard.”

Now, in 2012, Fisker Automotive is laying off staff in order to qualify for more government loans. So, President Obama’s “green” energy stimulus was supposed to create jobs; now it’s destroying jobs so that companies can get more stimulus? Of course, news of defective battery packs and subsequent fires haven’t help sell the Karma. Fisker has faced “multiple 2012 sales prediction downgrades for its first car release, delivery and cash flow troubles.” Though the company has balked at Solyndra comparisons, Fisker may well be on “death’s door.”

Tesla Motors* — $465 million

Like the Fisker Karma, the Tesla roadster is popular with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and other “Silicon Valley luminaries on the waiting list for the company’s super-cool and expensive electric sports cars”—as they are the only people who can afford the $100,000+ sports car.

Despite the fact that Tesla has been successful in raising hundreds of millions in private equity, they still needed the ATVM loan to help it get out of “the proverbial garage.” It looks like the “luminaries” will need to keep waiting. Tesla has been plagued with design problems: “If the battery is ever totally discharged, the owner is left with what Tesla describes as a ‘brick’: a completely immobile vehicle that cannot be started or even pushed down the street.

The only known remedy is for the owner to pay Tesla approximately $40,000 to replace the entire battery.” Other complaints about Tesla include “Over Promise, Under Deliver.” Last month Tesla issued more shares and announced that “Q3 revenues would not meet analyst estimates.” Despite its problems, Tesla, as Forbes green tech writer Todd Woody said, is not Solyndra—though one would be engaging hyperbole to call it a success.

1703 Loan Guarantee Program

AREVA acquired Ausra Inc.* –– $2 billion
In March 2010, this Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) investment that “develops and deploys utility-scale solar technologies,” was acquired by AREVA Inc., the French state-owned nuclear giant.

Two months later, in May of 2010, the DOE offered AREVA Enrichment Services, LLC a conditional commitment for a $2 billion loan guarantee to support the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility in Idaho Falls, Idaho. As rumors of AREVA “suspending its Idaho uranium enrichment plant” circulated, AREVA CEO Luc Oursel did confirm: “the company has been hit by financial problems that will affect the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility and others worldwide.”

Further, according to John Stossel’s Green Energy Myth July 2012 tally, “Shareholders of AREVA lost over 60% of their money last year [2011]. Why did we enrich the French? Who knows, but it’s awfully fishy when we find our usual green cronyism suspects hovering around “government green” like vultures.

Kleiner Perkins, where John Doerr and Al Gore are both partners and 2008 Obama supporters. Meanwhile billionaire John Doerr –– considered “a very big-ticket Obama donor” by New York Magazine –– influenced the 2009-stimulus, sits on the president’s job council, and in February 2011 hosted a star-studded billionaire Silicon Valley dinner for the president. He just so happened to rake in billions of stimulus money for his KPCB clean-energy portfolio, including Fisker Automotive listed above.

1705 Loan Guarantee Program

BrightSource Energy* — $1.6 billion

Using a proprietary power-tower solar thermal system, BrightSource Energy has a three-unit power system project known as “Ivanpah,” located near the California/Nevada border, south of Las Vegas. The BrightSource loan was considered a bailout, and is clearly a misuse of the DOE Loan Guarantee Program, and a direct violation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

According to Peter Schweizer’s Throw Them All Out book, “BrightSource badly needed the infusion of taxpayer cash. It had been losing lots of money. It had a debt obligation of $1.8 billion and, in 2010, lost $71.6 million on revenue of just $13.5 million.”

Despite the fast-tracked DOI approval, this project on federal land, has been plagued with problems. In April 2011, construction was halted because it put endangered desert tortoises at risk of being murdered. So far BrightSource has spent approximately $22 million to relocate and care for some 202 desert tortoises — a cost of $108,910 per tortoise,” and will be spending big taxpayer bucks in the future to help preserve the turtles.

Still, in August of this year “BrightSource Energy (BSE) invited media on a tour of its now half-complete Ivanpah solar power plant,” proclaiming that the solar power plant is on track. However, what the folks at BrightSource aren’t bragging about is the fact that they “lost $111 million in 2011 and [that they] are heavily dependent on government subsidies and government mandates, and that’s not a good place to be in this economic climate,” and this past spring, abandoned their attempt at an IPO.

FirstSolar* — $3 billion, plus suspicious Export-Import bank funding

First Solar manufacturers “thin film” solar modules and is now moving into project development. Considered by the House Oversight Committee as a “scheme,” since the finalization of its $3 billion in taxpayer-funded loans, the company has had a series of issues ranging from being the “biggest S&P loser in 2011,” to the CEO being fired, and tons in between.

In April 2012, FirstSolar laid off 2000 workers and closed factories. In May, a massive round of furloughs was announced. In a May 16, 2012 hearing, CEO Michael Ahern admitted: “in sheer numbers, most of our full-time employees are outside the US.” According to Forbes this past July, “Shares of First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), are selling at their lowest level in five years.

The company, which is the leading solar company in the United States, lost $39.5 million last year. In the first quarter of this year, First Solar reported a loss of $449 million after non-recurring expenses of $405 million.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on September 24, 2012, “First Solar, for example, postponed indefinitely its plans for a second U.S. factory in Arizona because of the weak market conditions.” And, in May, the Heritage Foundation predicted: “It’s just a matter of time before [First Solar] joins the bankruptcy ranks of Solyndra and Beacon Power.”

Nevada Geothermal* — $78.8 million, plus $69 million in federal stimulus-funded grants

This geothermal company was heartily endorsed by Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who said: “This project is exactly the type of initiative we need to ensure Nevada creates good-paying jobs.”

Last October, an auditor for Nevada Geothermal Power said the company would probably not survive much longer. At the time, the company laid off 100 workers—which represents a large percentage of its workforce. Recently, the Washington Times revealed that power at Nevada Geothermal (NGP) is dimming and may be the next green-energy bankruptcy. Late last month, it was announced that NGP may transfer ownership to a lender after projecting the facility will produce less power than expected.

NextEra Energy Genesis Solar Project* — $681.6 million

This solar energy project may be the victim of its favored treatment. According to the Los Angeles Times, “The $1-billion Genesis Solar Energy Project has been expedited by state and federal regulatory agencies that are eager to demonstrate that the nation can build solar plants quickly to ease dependence on fossil fuels and curb global warming.

Instead, the project is providing a cautionary example of how the rush to harness solar power in the desert can go wrong—possibly costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and dealing an embarrassing blow to the Obama administration’s solar initiative.”

The House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform’s March 20, 2012 report says: “To expedite site approval, NextEra opted for a less thorough process.” As a result, the site “encroached on the habitat of the endangered kit foxes.” NextEra had to move the foxes prior to grading the site. “Ultimately, seven foxes died from NextEra’s removal process.”

Additionally, there have been concerns of desert tortoises and a “prehistoric human settlement,” of which the latter has “sparked a potential standoff between Native American tribal groups on one side and the Bureau of Land Management and the solar developer on the other.”

SunPower Corp.* (project bought by NRG Energy*) –– $1.2 billion DOE loan guarantee

Despite SunPower’s well-known financial issues, and the fact that it was under a shareholder suit alleging securities fraud and misrepresentations, just days (September 2011) before the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program’s deadline, along with four other solar companies, its $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the DOE was approved.

This $1.2 billion of taxpayer dollars went to build a 250-megawatt solar plant (the California Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo County), “a project that will help create 15 permanent jobs, which adds up to the equivalent of $80 million in taxpayer money for each job.”

While the conditional loan was announced in April 2011, “shortly thereafter, French energy giant Total bought a majority ownership in SunPower and extended a $1 billion credit line to the company.” Now, SunPower never directly got the cash because they sold the California Valley Solar Ranch that received the federal loan to NRG, an energy company based in New Jersey. But SunPower is still developing the project and stands to profit if it succeeds.

The House Oversight March 20th report, noted this project as “non-investment” grade –– part of the DOE’s disastrous loan guarantee program, as 23 of the 26 were junk rated, putting $16 billion of taxpayer money at risk. SunPower: Twice As Bad As Solyndra and twice full of cronyism and corruption –– both SunPower and NRG Energy have meaningful political connections to President Obama and other high-ranking Democrats.

Other Stimulus funded projects

A123 Systems* — $390 million

On September 13, 2010, President Obama called lithium-ion electric-car battery maker A123 Systems CEO and said, “This is about the birth of an entire new industry in America—an industry that’s going to be central to the next generation of cars.”

According to Radio Michigan, part of the NPR Network, during the call, which took place at the plant’s opening, Obama touted: this “shows it is possible to build an advanced battery industry in the U.S. basically from scratch.” A123’s primary customer was Fisker Automotive. It is the A123 batteries that caused the “bricking” addressed in the Fisker summary.

In a little more than two years, A123 has laid off 125 employees, seen the stock fall to less than $1, faced lawsuits, and given the Chinese control of the company.

AltaRock* — $6 million, $25 million, plus $1.45 million

AltaRock received $25 million for an Engineered Geothermal System (EGS) demonstration project in Oregon and an additional $1.45 million to develop more efficient EGS exploration drilling methods. AltaRock’s similar venture in California was shut down due to drilling problems after receiving $6 million from the DOE. The Oregon Newberry Project hopes for better results with the testing phase expected to be complete by 2014.

Bloom Energy* — $5 million

Expected to work like magic by creating cheap, clean energy from a refrigerator-size box, known as the Bloom Box, Bloom Energy has fallen from its glory day, February 21, 2010, when it debuted with a segment on 60 Minutes. The Bloom Boxes were to be made in Delaware.

A few months ago, a lawsuit was filed against Bloom “on the grounds that it represents a ‘crony’ deal that will unfairly charge utility ratepayers millions of dollars and bar competitors from the state.” However, a Breitbart report states: “‘cronyism’ may be the least of the company’s problems: the ‘green’ energy its generators produce may, in fact, be less efficient, more expensive, and dirtier than that produced by conventional alternatives.”

CH2M Hill* — $2 billion

Despite their history of problems, CH2M Hill, a consulting, engineering, and construction firm received stimulus funds for the clean-up of nuclear waste from cold war-era sites. The Washington Post reported that CH2M Hill was slated for the stimulus funds before President Obama was even inaugurated.

Senator Patty Hill (D-WA) lobbied for the program and CH2M gave her $16,000 in political contributions. The Blaze reports that CH2M also has connections with former green jobs czar Van Jones. Nonetheless, once the stimulus funds ran out, it was predicted, in January 2011, that 1600 people would lose their jobs. In July, it was announced that 1200 would be laid off. Accuracy in Media has done a thorough investigative report on the Ch2M case.

Chevy Volt* — $151 million, $105 million, plus stimulus funds

A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in a January 2012 report,  accuses President Obama of using an “unusual blurring of public and private sector boundaries” in the case of the Chevy Volt.

The report cites: the Administration has offered substantial taxpayer-funded subsidies to encourage production of the Volt, such as $151.4 million in stimulus funds for a Michigan-based company that produces lithium-ion polymer battery cells for the Volt as well as $105 million directly to GM.” Yet, the Volt has not been a success.

GM has halted the Volt’s production and laid-off 1300 workers. In August, Forbes predicted that “GM is headed for bankruptcy—again”—though not until after the election. Perhaps, as the Washington Examiner suggested, Biden’s bumper sticker slogan “BIN Laden is dead and General Motors is alive” would be more accurate as: “Al-Qaida’s alive and GM is lurching”

ECOtality* Inc. — $126.2 million

The Daily Caller calls ECOtality: “yet another troubled green-tech company that has received taxpayer funds and public support from the White House.” Touted in President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address, ECOtality was supposed to install 1400 electric car chargers in five states and “an estimated 750 jobs are likely to be created over the life and scope of the project.”

Less than 7000 have been installed and according to Recovery.gov, 144 jobs have been created. According to a statement from its SEC filing, “We may not achieve or sustain profitability on a quarterly or annual basis in the future.” According to the Heritage Foundation, the company is also under investigation for insider trading.

Johnson Controls — $299 million

The money was supposed to go to making electric batteries and for opening up two factories in the US. Touted as a “success” in an Obama campaign ad, Johnson Controls actually opened only one US factory—and it operates at half capacity.

The second factory was built in Hungary. The US plant featured in the ad has been fined for “$188,600 for exposing employees to higher than permissible levels of lead.” The Heritage Foundation reports that Johnson Controls will be laying off workers.

Montana Alberta Tie Line* — $161 million

A transmission line project that was the first authorized under the stimulus program, the Montana Alberta Tie Line was seen as a good conduit for stimulus money.

The Washington Post reports: “The 214-mile line, known as the Montana Alberta Tie Line, which is supposed to run from Great Falls, Mont., to Lethbridge in Alberta and is designed to facilitate wind generation in northern Montana” is two years behind schedule and $70 million over budget. Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman said the project has come to “a standstill, with no progress being made.”

National Renewable Energy Lab* — $200 million

The Daily Caller reports: “The Obama administration supported the NREL in 2009 with roughly $200 million in stimulus grants. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu visited Golden in May 2009 to promote the NREL as a beneficiary of those funds.”

Yet, as the Denver Post reports: “The Golden lab, which saw tremendous investment as part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus efforts, said it will use voluntary buyouts to cut 100 to 150 jobs.” The Denver Post cites the Governor’s Energy Office, director TJ Deora as saying: “We love having the jobs here in Colorado, but this was anticipated, now that the stimulus money is winding down.”

Schneider Electric — $86 million

The Iowa Republican reports: “Schneider, which bought Square D Company in 1991, has received over $86 million in federal stimulus money. Some of the money went to make energy upgrades to buildings and factories as part of the administration’s Better Buildings Better Plants Challenge.

According to a White House press release, Schneider received the funds because it had pledged to reduce energy consumption in 9 million square feet of building space, covering 40 different plants, by 25 percent.” In May, in the midst of an Obama Iowa campaign stop, Schneider announced that it was cutting 80 jobs—roughly 20% of its Cedar Rapids workforce. Schneider is moving its production line of low voltage circuit breakers to Mexico.

The Iowa Republican closes its report with this: “It is also frustrating to see large companies like Schneider receive millions in stimulus dollars and still relocate jobs to Mexico. Maybe instead of finding ways to keep giving incentives to the wind industry in Newton, the President should explain why companies that have received millions from his administration feel the need to create jobs in Mexico and not Cedar Rapids.”

Serious Material* — $548,100

While you may have never heard of Serious Material, they have one of the most interesting stories. This California-based company has a window manufacturing plant in Chicago, about which President Obama said: “These workers will now have a new mission: producing some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world.”

And Vice President Biden said: “This is a story of how a new economy predicated on innovation and efficiency is not only helping us today but inspiring a better tomorrow.” John Stossel reported that Serious Material’s CEO claimed that his factory opening wouldn’t have been possible without the Obama administration.

Stossel says, “He may have known something we didn’t.” In January 2010, “Obama announced a new set of tax credits for so-called green companies. One window company was on the list: Serious Materials. This must be one very special company.”

How special? Cathy Zoi, who oversees $16.8 in stimulus funds, is married to Robin Roy—vice president of policy at Serious Windows. Breitbart.com calls them “a metaphor for Obama’s political career, featuring strong-arm union tactics, corrupt Chicago politicians, crony capitalism, and media propaganda.” May the metaphor continue. Earlier this year, Serious admitted defeat. They closed the Chicago plant.  About 46 workers lost their jobs.

Solar World Industries America — $4.6 million

A subsidiary of Germany’s Solar World, the US company received funds through the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy—about which Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced “more than $145 million for projects to help shape the next generation of solar-energy technologies and ensure that the United States remains a leader in the global market.” Apparently that wasn’t enough for Solar World.

After Solar World complained that Chinese solar-panel manufacturers benefitted from unfair subsidies by Beijing, the US Commerce Department announced tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels. Shortly thereafter, Fox News reported: “Solar World and others had seen their market share plummet as sales in inexpensive Chinese panels have skyrocketed.” Solar World stock price has dropped 75% and Chief Executive Frank Asbeck has given up his pay “until the company is profitable again.”

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

States’ Businesses, Way of Life Bolstered by Land & Wildlife

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Economy, Energy/Environment, Social/Cultural

Nearly Half of Westerners Rely on Land & Wildlife for Recreation.

DENVER — A new state-by-state analysis by the Center for Western Priorities shows that abundant fish and wildlife on public lands are essential for the long-term health of Western economies.

In 2011, wildlife-related recreation contributed $3 billion into Colorado’s economy. Wildlife enthusiasts and sportsmen and women contributed nearly $1 billion to New Mexico’s economy, and in Montana, they contributed $1.4 billion.

Aside from the economic boon public lands provide, they are also part of our way of life. Regardless of industry, a considerable portion of Westerners participate in wildlife-based recreation.

Approximately 4 out of 10 New Mexicans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 4 out of 10 Montanans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 4 out of 10 Utahans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 5 out of 10 Coloradoans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 6 out of 10 Wyomingites Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation

To view full analysis and interactive charts click here.

Maintaining abundant fish and wildlife is important for the long-term health of our Western economies. Westerners and visitors love to travel around our region, visit our public lands, and hunt, fish or merely observe our wildlife. Money spent by those hunters, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts provides a critical source of revenue for local economies across the Rocky Mountain West.

A recent survey released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illustrates the importance of protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat. Men, women and children throughout the Rockies spend their free time exploring our open spaces, viewing wildlife, hunting game and fishing in our streams, lakes and reservoirs.

In New Mexico, nearly 4 out of 10 residents partake in some form of wildlife-related recreation, be it hunting, fishing or wildlife viewing. In Colorado, 5 out of every 10 residents participate in wildlife-associated recreational activities.[i]

Approximately 4 out of 10 New Mexicans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 4 out of 10 Montanans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 4 out of 10 Utahans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 5 out of 10 Coloradoans Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation
Approximately 6 out of 10 Wyomingites Participate in Wildlife-Based Recreation

In 2011, wildlife-related recreation contributed $3 billion into Colorado’s economy. Wildlife enthusiasts and sportsmen and women contributed nearly $1 billion to New Mexico’s economy, and in Montana, they contributed $1.4 billion. That money’s going to local retailers, community grocery stores, gas stations, hotels, and outfitters. [ii]

In order to protect these jobs and businesses that so many Western families depend on, we need responsible oil and gas development that accounts for wildlife’s importance to our Western way of life and our Western economies. That means ensuring energy development isn’t done in a way that damages our public lands and wildlife resources.

[i] 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.
[ii] 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.

This article was submitted by the Center for Western Priorities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marita Noon on Energy Part I

Posted on 05. Nov, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment

The following articles have been combined from several submissions by Marita Noon during the month of October. – Editor

OPEC bets on Obama

First it went up—an expected reaction to the expanding anti-American riots taking place in the Middle East and Israel’s “hawkish statements.” Then, almost inexplicably, it went down—while the reasons for the increase remained intact.

Industry experts have come up with a variety of explanations as to why the price of crude oil suddenly dropped from “a four month high of $117.95”—with American gasoline prices at “the highest ever level for this time of the year”—to “their lowest in six weeks.”

A wide range of reasons are offered: expiring futures contracts; doubts about the pace of global economic recovery; the restart of production, shipment, and refining following hurricane Isaac; a bigger than expected increase in US crude oil stocks; a decrease in the spread between WTI and Brent; improved vehicle-mileage standards; and even the fat fingers of a trader.

One week ago, when oil prices reached their current peak, Iran’s oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, said that crude oil ought to be at least $150 a barrel. The reason? “Current oil prices were not high enough to threaten the world economy.”

Make no mistake. The Arab world is well aware of the potential choke-hold the countries have on the “world economy,” and they like the control position. They enjoy it when American presidents grovel, and even bow.

They know we have to come to them and press for more production every time the geopolitics—much of which they control—heats up the price of oil. Addressing the “highest ever,” “for this time of year” gasoline prices of $3.87 a gallon, the Financial Times states: “The White House is watching.” There are rumblings about a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

A current AP article heralds: “Gas prices, not jobs stats, are key numbers for voters.” The subtitle hammers the point: “Gas prices and grocery bills are more likely to sway voters than the monthly jobs report, economists and pollsters say. Gas prices are nearing $4 per gallon and could be key in deciding the presidential race.”

Four-dollar-a-gallon is widely believed to be the current tipping point at which the public goes berserk and beseeches the president to do something—though as CNBC anchor Brian Sullivan chirps “for the majority of the country, $4 gas isn’t going to doom our economy… it looks like $5 is the new $4 when it comes to gas prices and the economy.”

While President Obama obviously can do little to calm the radicals rioting in the streets, burning our flag, and shouting anti-American epitaphs, with November 6 in his sight, Obama can ask OPEC for more oil—and more oil supply lowers the price of gasoline and increases his re-election chances. In the tight race, he needs every possible advantage.

Iran’s representative on the board of governors of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammad Ali Khatibi, gloats: “The United States is trying to artificially bring down prices by pressing oil producing countries to raise output.”

Enter Saudi Arabia—the kind and caring Saudis. Yes, the very same Saudi Arabia ruled by King Abdulla with whom President Bush held hands and to whom President Obama scraped and bowed. There are apparently no news reports on a White House emissary visiting King Abdulla to press for increased output, yet, as the Financial Times reports: Saudi Arabia “has been offering extra oil to its customers.” (Italics added)

Maybe Michelle Malkin was wrong when she said about President Bush: “The hand-holding has gotten us nowhere—and in fact, has made us less secure.” Not likely.

The same Financial Times article quotes “a Gulf-based oil official,” who said that last week’s high oil price was “too high” and that the kingdom “would like to see oil prices back to $100 a barrel.”

So, days apart from each other, we have neighboring OPEC countries saying that prices aren’t “high enough” and that they are “too high.” Which is your truth depends on your goal. Iran’s comment references threatening the world economy—to them it isn’t “high enough.” Saudi Arabia is less ideological; more self-preservationist—to them it is “too high.” But, too high for what?

America has long been known as the Saudi Arabia of coal. Now, we are called the Saudi Arabia of natural gas—even the Saudi Arabia of wind. Recent US discoveries are reported as containing four to six times the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.

We could well be the Saudi Arabia of oil—which would mean we don’t need them, and we can supply our own needs and much of the world’s. Without US dollars, how would they drive their Ferraris, adorn themselves with designer goods, and send their children to private American schools?

Question: Saudi Arabia thinks oil prices are “too high” for what?

Answer: Too high for President Obama to get re-elected.

Saudi Arabia is betting on Obama; they have a vested interest in his victory. They know that if Obama gets a second term, America’s riches in natural resources will stay in the ground, and we’ll remain dependent on them. Therefore, Saudi Arabia has “pledged to keep output high to meet demand” “through the end of the year”—might we say, through the election?

Upon hearing my premise, former Texas Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones—with whom I shared the platform at a speaking engagement Friday night, agreed, and added: “Obama doesn’t need to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, he’s got Saudi Arabia doing it for him.”

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has promised to build the Keystone pipeline and develop domestic resources—both of which will bring more North American oil to market, increase supplies, lower prices, and loosen the choke-hold OPEC maintains on the world economy.

If Mitt Romney wins, OPEC loses.

If the US average gasoline price stays above $4 a gallon, OPEC knows that Obama’s chances of re-election are diminished, but if they can keep prices low by pumping more “through the end of the year,” it helps Obama’s re-election efforts.

If Obama wins, OPEC wins. If OPEC wins, America loses. There is no win/win.

No wonder OPEC is betting on Obama.

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

New emails prove White House lied about DOE green-energy loans

When he is confronted about the failed green-energy loan program, President Obama deflects blame—pointing to “career bureaucrats” in the Department of Energy (DOE) who supposedly approved the loans that have become an embarrassment to the White House.

For months, along with researcher Christine Lakotos, I’ve been reporting on, first, the junk-bond rated projects (such as Solyndra) that received fast-tracked approval from the DOE and, then, the failed and troubled stimulus funded companies.

Solyndra was just the tip of the iceberg. Embarrassment after embarrassment has come to light as the projects touted as the hope for America’s future have filed for bankruptcy, sent money and jobs overseas, and faced technical difficulties.

The 1705 loan guarantee program had 460 applicants, but only 7% were approved—26 projects were funded. Of those 26 projects 22 were junk-bond rated—meaning private investors wouldn’t fund them. So why did we, the taxpayers?

Our research showed that at least 90% of the projects had close ties to the White House and other high ranking Democrats. Despite the obvious connection, President Obama has repeatedly denied any involvement—preferring to blame “career bureaucrats” who could take the fall with no political consequence.

In March, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, testified that, “We looked at the loans on their own merits.” Also, back in November 2011, he said: “I am aware of no communication from White House to Department of Energy saying to make the loan or to restructure.”

Just last week, on October 26, President Obama affirmed Chu’s position when he said: “Decisions made in the loan program office are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics.”

However, late Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a new report of “over 150 emails that contradict statements by the President, Secretary Chu, and White House and DOE officials.” The emails reveal a series of questionable practices, including coercion, cronyism and, cover ups.

The Committee has been asking for the emails and additional testimony since the Solyndra story broke in September of 2011, but the DOE has been refusing to cooperate. Emails were finally leaked from former DOE employees. Some of the incriminating evidence includes the following:

From an email dated March 1, 2010 from David Schmitzer, DOE LPO Director of Loan
Origination to LPO Credit Advisor McCrea and others: “Jonathan just said at our staff meeting that, opposite the message received on Thursday, AREVA is now a “go” (seems on Friday POTUS himself
approved moving it ahead).”

From an email dated June 25, 2010, LPO Executive Director Jonathan Silver encourages LPO Credit Advisor Jim McCrea to remind a Treasury official of White House Interest in now bankrupt Abound Solar:  “You better let him know that WH wants to move Abound forward. Policy will have to wait unless they have a specific policy problem with abound.”

From an email dated September 9, 2010 from LPO Credit Advisor McCrea to
DOE contractor Brian Oakley: “Pressure is on real heavy on SF [Shepherds Flat] due to interest from VP.”

These emails are just a snippet of the 150 emails we are reviewing as a part of the just-released report. We have covered each of the projects listed above and will report further.

We know that the Obama Administration operates from a “culture of corruption,” now we see that there is also a culture of deception within the White House walls. The White House green lies are bigger than innocent, little white lies, they are expensive green lies that have produced $34.7 billion in red ink for the taxpayers. The Obama green energy program is the largest, most expensive, and deceptive case of crony capitalism in American history.

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Obama cares more about Big Bird than real birds

The number of days until the election can now be counted on both hands. Regardless of the outcome, we know one issue will be buried under the fiscal-cliff news—where it hopes to fly under the radar. This one issue? The extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy—which is bound to be present in lame-duck session negotiations, as it is currently scheduled to expire on December 31.

Using taxpayer dollars, the PTC supposedly “makes wind power more competitive with other sources of electricity”—though wind energy is still more expensive than traditionally fueled electricity and raises the costs for both residential and industrial users.

Throughout the year, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has been working valiantly, but unsuccessfully, to get the PTC extended. They are now down to the wire and are getting panicked—sending military veterans to meet with staffers of GOP members who are believed to be “persuadable,” and even calling on pension fund managers to put pressure on House and Senate leadership. Their only hope for salvation is the lame-duck session.

Should Romney win, the lame-duck pressure will be even stronger as he has stood in opposition to the PTC extension. In a Romney White House, wind energy will need to be viable without taxpayer subsidy or borrowing from China. After twenty years, it should be, but as we’ve seen, it isn’t.

By contrast, President Obama is proud of his “investments” in wind energy. In April 2011, before Pennsylvania wind-turbine manufacturer Gamesa started layoffs, he gave a speech at the Fairless Hills plant in which he announced: “I want the United States to be the leading manufacturer of wind power. I want it made right here in the U.S. of A.” Throughout the campaign season, “President Obama has traveled to wind-heavy swing states like Iowa to tout his support for the subsidy.”

Gamesa is just one of several wind turbine manufacturers who’ve announced layoffs because of the impending PTC expiration. Others include Clipper Wind in Iowa and Vestas in Colorado. All blame the “uncertainty of the PTC.” Orders for new turbines have “screeched to a halt.”

Stories of closures and lay-offs make a very weak case for the PTC’s extension, as none of those tell the net-jobs picture. Many independent studies have concluded that wind development is a net jobs loser, but AWEA isn’t mentioning that detail, and is hoping that “persuadable” Republicans won’t notice that reality. Layoffs in the wind industry pale in comparison to those faced as a result of the Obama Administration’s harsh regulations impacting coal mining and coal-fueled power.

Dramatic stories of closures and lay-offs make a compelling case for the PTC’s extension and pressure “persuadable” Republicans to give in—and the AWEA is counting on it. While most of us are watching polling data, the AWEA is applying pressure.

No one wants to be the meanie who puts people out of work—especially in this economy. But, especially in this economy, the real costs must be considered.

A new report, Subsidizing Big Wind: The Real Costs to Taxpayers, has just been released. Subsidizing Big Wind points out that the PTC “is only one of the subsidies given to the wind industry.” In it, Robert Bryce analyzes all the subsidies the wind industry enjoys: direct subsidies, subsidies in the form of mandates, subsidizing wind-energy jobs, and subsidizing wind companies by exempting them from prosecution. The report shows that “no other part of the energy industry receives such preferential treatment.”

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Obama won’t cede green energy failures

If he succeeds in his run for a second term, President Obama doesn’t intend to tone down his efforts to push for green energy. Instead of learning from his mistakes, he plans to “do more.”

During his recent sit down with Steve Kroft for the interview that aired on 60 Minutes, the President was asked about green energy—though the clip was omitted from the program that the American public saw.

Kroft: “You said one of your big campaign themes was that green energy, the green economy, was going to be a tremendous generator of jobs and that has not turned out to be the case, yet.”

Obama: “We have tens of thousands of jobs that have been created as a consequence of wind energy alone. Is that enough? Absolutely not. Can we do more? Yes. … This is still an industry in its infancy. … Has it all paid off yet? Absolutely not. But I am not going to cede those new jobs, the jobs of the future, to countries like China or Germany that are making those same investments.”

One could argue that the $80 billion, plus, in stimulus funds that were designated for green energy projects have “paid off”—just not for the American tax payer.  During the summer, with the help of researcher Christine Lakatos, I produced a series of reports on the Obama green-energy, crony-corruption scandal.

Through those reports, we profiled a series of companies and showed how people with political connections to the Obama Administration had a return on their green energy investment that “paid off” at rates greater than anything available on Wall Street. Each report detailed the players involved, their connections to the White House and/or other high-ranking Democrats, such as the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and powerful Senator Diane Feinstein—something we can expect “more” of in his green-energy, green-economy emphasis during an Obama second term.

No, President Obama is not going to “cede.” He will not admit failure; he’ll do more. We can expect more failure— à la Solyndra, which is only the most well-known green energy, stimulus fund failure.

Here, in a new series of reports, Lakatos and I will expose the various failures of Obama’s green-energy expenditures: projects that have gone bankrupt (approximately 19), those that are heading that way (approximately 20), and the jobs he says he has created (at an average cost of $6.7 million per job)—all while raising energy costs, serving as a hidden tax on all Americans.

I’ve done dozens of radio interviews on the Obama green-energy, crony-corruption scandal reports, during which I am repeatedly asked about the stimulus recipients that have gone “belly up.” The number is difficult to calculate, as there are various ways to view the data. Did they get grants, loans, loan guarantees, tax incentives or credits, or some combination? Through which programs were the funds distributed?

In this first-of-the-series report, we use a broad brush—if the green-energy project received funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (known as the stimulus) and it went bankrupt, we’re covering it.

Our research shows that, to date, 15 projects belong in this first group—though there are several other projects for which there is not enough data available to make a definitive conclusion, that appear to have received some form of Stimulus funds and have gone bankrupt (we’ve listed them at the end). In an effort to produce an easily readable report, we will not go into detail regarding each and every project that involves “crony corruption.”

Instead, we’ll simply place an * after the project/company’s name to indicate a political connection (more than 60%). We’ll provide the pertinent facts and a few interesting details. We’ll start with Solyndra—because it is the most widely known. Next we’ll cover Abound Solar and Beacon Power. Like Solyndra, they’ve received a fair amount of press. The remaining projects are presented here in alphabetical order—unless you follow this topic closely, you probably never heard of any of them. We are including links that will take you to additional information.

As you read through the list below, think about the Obama administration’s attitude toward these projects. Do you want “more” of this?

Solyndra*

Received $535 million DOE loan and $25.1 million in California tax credit. Bankrupt: September 2011

What started as an unworthy investment, snagged a 2010 White House endorsement, only to become a public relations nightmare that included a loan restructuring (an apparent violation of the law) and even a plot to hide the company’s troubles from the 2010 midterm glare. Solyndra became a cautionary tale of sorts: a failed Obama green investment, one of the first to go kaput, unethical executive bonuses included, leaving in its wake FBI raids, and a trail of resignations and damning emails, all evidence that Obama’s “clean” energy is dirty.

Research informs us that, “Every Obama Chief Of Staff, staffers across numerous agencies, government watchdogs, even Solyndra investors knew that the risks were too high for taxpayers.”

Solyndra, which came from humble junk beginnings, now has its place in history: an art exhibit at the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley, at the price tag of half a billion taxpayer dollars.

Abound Solar*

Received part of a $60 million grant under the Bush administration, and was awarded a $400 million loan under Obama in December of 2010. Abound was awarded a $9.2-million loan from the Export-Import Bank in July 2011. Bankrupt: June 2012

President Obama, in July 2010, praised Abound Solar, which was to make advanced solar panels in two locations: Colorado and Indiana. He believed these plants would be huge job creators: “2000 construction jobs and 1500 permanent jobs.”

In December 2011, CEO Craig Witsoe called Abound Solar the “anti-Solyndra” saying that his company “doing well and growing.” However, just months after that optimistic report, Abound Solar filed bankruptcy—blaming cheap imports from China. Todd Shepherd, an investigative reporter for Colorado Watchdog found that “Abound’s problems appear to have been rooted in the quality of its own products, the competitiveness of the business model, and its inability to retain top talent.”

Beacon Power*

Received more than $25 million in DOE grants and a DOE loan for $43 million. Bankrupt: October 2011

Beacon Power was to have provided a much-needed link to make the renewable-energy dream a reality: energy storage. The biggest, chunk of cash—$43 million was awarded to Beacon to create a 20-megawatt flywheel energy storage plant. Despite the fact that Standard & Poor’s ran two default scenarios with dismal conclusions, the DOE ignored S&P and its own internal analysis and finalized the loan guarantee in July 2010.

Perhaps it was the Washington insiders connected to Beacon that got the loan through. While the ink was still drying on the loan, ABC News reported: “In March 2010, the Massachusetts energy storage company paid cash bonuses of $259,285 to three executives in part due to the progress on $43 million energy loan.” Despite Obama’s animosity toward “executive bonuses,” these have been off his attack radar as Beacon Power is one of his chosen winners—that lost 15 months after being anointed.

AES Eastern Energy/Energy Storage*

Received $17.1 million DOE conditional commitment on August 2, 2010. Bankrupt: December 31, 2011.

There is some controversy on this company. AES Eastern Energy Limited Partnership filed for Bankruptcy. The parent company, AES Corporation was not included in the filing. AES Energy Storage received, according to a DOE announcement, “a loan guarantee for $17.1 million to support the construction of a 20-megawatt energy storage system using advanced lithium-ion batteries.”

CBS News did an investigative report that connected AES Energy Storage with AES Eastern Energy and news coverage of the bankruptcy includes “13 affiliated entities.” The following facts cannot be ignored. Kristina Johnson served on the board of AES from 2004-2009 and then again has served as a director since January 2011. In between, she served as Undersecretary for Energy at the DOE—during the time that AES Energy Storage received the loan guarantee, once complete, she was back at AES. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Amonix*

Received $6 million in federal tax credits a $15.6 million grant from the DOE for research and development. Bankrupt: July 18, 2012.

The Amonix website describes them as: “the leading designer and manufacturer of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) commercial solar power systems.” On January 8, 2010, President Obama announced $5,889,149, a 48C Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit for Amonix’s Las Vegas Facility And $3,629,998, a 48C Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit for Amonix’s Phoenix Facility.

On August 7, 2010, in a speech about the economy at University of Nevada Las Vegas, President Obama praised the success of the program.  On March 22, 2011, Amonix received a $355,056 Grant, on April 26, 2011, it received a $2,079,827 grant and on May 24, 2011, received a $5,276,414 grant—all through the 1603 Program.

On September 1, 2011, Amonix was awarded $4,474,000 through DOE’s Sunshot Initiative. Nearly a year after Obama’s visit, on May 18, 2011, Amonix opened the North Las Vegas facility. A month later, Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy, visited the plant and said: “It’s companies like this and its programs that we’re trying to do here that will really propel us forward to create jobs, to create prosperity and to create green energy.” A year later, the 700 employees who worked there at its peak were all laid off.

Azure Dynamics*

Received millions in stimulus funds and over $1.7 million in Michigan state tax credits. Bankrupt: March 27, 2012

Azure Dynamics was a British Columbia-based electric-vehicle firm. It supplied hybrid and electric powertrains for Ford’s electrified Transit Connect vans. Azure also made gasoline-electric hybrid buses. In 2010, the city of Terre Haute, Indiana, bought two of them with stimulus funds.

The buses are reported to have been a “maintenance nightmare.” Before bankruptcy, the buses frequent repairs had been paid for by Azure. Terre Haute will now, likely, be responsible for repairs. The buses were painted red and green to “symbolize the transition from the conventional buses to new green technology.” As it turned out, the red and green symbolized a watermelon—from the outside, it appears to be green. Once you look into it, you see red ink. Azure Dynamics laid off 120 employees worldwide.

Babcock & Brown*

Received $178 million in the largest federal (1603) stimulus wind grant in December 2009. Placed into voluntary liquidation: March 13, 2009.

The “gone with the wind” story is a little tricky and has many facets starting with a remarkable detail, millions in grants went to wind farms built before the stimulus even passed. You’ll be “blown away” by the fact that the majority of these “wind energy grants” doled out by the Obama administration went overseas.

According to a February 2010 analysis of the program by the Investigative Reporting Workshop, “money from the 2009 stimulus bill to help support the renewable energy industry continues to flow overseas.”

But here is where it gets more twisted, $178 million, the third largest 1603 grant, was awarded to Babcock & Brown in December 2009 (four months after it went bust), a bankrupt Australian company that built a Texas wind farm using turbines made by a Japanese company.”

In March 2010, Pattern Energy Group, based in San Francisco, acquired the 283.2 MW Gulf Windenergy project in Texas for an undisclosed sum from Babcock and Brown, which was placed into voluntary liquidation in March 2009.

Energy Conversion Devices Inc./Uni-Solar

Received a $13.3 million Stimulus tax credit. Bankrupt: February 2011.

Uni-Solar was a maker of thin-film solar products for commercial rooftops. Energy Conversion Devices, the parent company of Uni-Solar, was a solar-laminate supplier. Both represented hope for the future for Greenville, Michigan. Both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Hundreds were laid off.

Ener1*

Received a $118.5 million DOE Stimulus grant. Bankrupt: January 26, 2011.

Based in Greenfield, Indiana, Ener1 was to make batteries for electric cars. One year to the day before Ener1 filed for bankruptcy, on January 26, 2011, Vice President Biden toured the factory and bragged: “Here at Ener1, we’re going to harness electricity and bring it to the world, like Edison did more than a century ago.”

Nearly a year later, in the State of the Union address, President Obama affirmed his belief in batteries: “In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.” Three days later, Ener1 filed for bankruptcy. The Wall Street Journal cited “the mismatch between production and market demand” as the cause of Ener1’s causality.

Evergreen Solar, Inc.*

Received Stimulus funds, grants, tax-credits, low-interest loans and subsidies. Bankrupt: August 15, 2011

We know that Evergreen Solar received monies from the state of Massachusetts, but because the various funds given to Evergreen Solar are “unreported and impossible to track,” we have to work to connect Evergreen Solar to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—the stimulus.

In an April 22, 2009 White House announcement, the stimulus is credited with providing funds that would allow Evergreen Solar to hire “90-100 people.”

Other reports indicate that Evergreen Solar “received $5.3 million of stimulus cash through a state grant to install 11,000 photovoltaic panels installed at 11 colleges and universities, a recycling facility and an education center in Massachusetts.” Once the “darling of the US solar industry,” Evergreen blamed its demise on Chinese rivals and 800 people lost their jobs.

Konarka Technologies Inc.

Received $20 million in grants from government agencies such as the DOE and the Pentagon. Bankrupt: June 4, 2012.

Konarka is another Massachusetts solar panel technology company. Like Evergreen, Konarka has received funding from a wide variety of government programs—yet they, too, filed for bankruptcy. Addressing the 183 companies that would get a total of $2.3 billion worth of tax credits for clean-energy manufacturing projects in 43 states as a part of the Stimulus—one of which was Konarka—President Obama, stated: “Building a robust clean-energy sector is how we will create the jobs of the future—jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.” Approximately 85 jobs were lost when Konarka went bankrupt.

Raser Technologies

Received $33 million Treasury Department Stimulus grant. Bankrupt: May 2, 2011.

Raser Technologies is a renewable energy company focusing on geothermal power development. However, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, it “had problems making its technology work.”  Post collapse, “the company that once portrayed itself as leading a geothermal revolution describes itself as the stooge in a cruel and costly joke, one centered around the very technology that it once proudly hailed.” The taxpayers are not laughing.

SpectraWatt*

Received $500,000 grant from the Renewable Energy Lab via the Stimulus. Bankrupt: August 23, 2011

SpectraWatt was a solar-panel manufacturer that was spun off of Intel, based in New York where it expected to take advantage of “the most aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in the U.S., mandating that 25% of the State’s energy be derived from renewable sources by the year 2013” and where they were offered tax breaks to open a manufacturing plant.

Likening the solar-panel business to the microprocessor industry in the late 70s, Andrew Wilson, the former general manager in the Intel New Business Initiatives group, SpectraWatt’s CEO, said, “There is a lot to be figured out and improved.”  He added, “Intel’s silicon expertise translates in the solar cell industry, even though there are significant differences in the end product.”  The company was to focus on improving solar cell efficiency—how well a panel converts light to electricity—as well as cutting the overall cost per watt. Instead, the spinoff spun out.

Stirling Energy Systems

Received $7 million from a federal renewable-energy grant and was eligible for nearly $10.5 million in manufacturing tax credits. Bankrupt: September 28, 2011.

Stirling Energy Systems made large, 38-foot-high reflective dishes, which concentrate sunlight onto a Stirling engine to generate electricity. Stirling’s technology was to be used at the Imperial Valley Solar project, about which Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, it would “advance the president’s agenda for stimulating investment in cutting-edge technology, creating jobs for American workers, and promoting clean energy for American homes, businesses and industry.”

Construction on the Imperial Valley Solar has been stopped due to an injunction granted last year, after a Native American group filed a suit against it.

Thompson River Power LLC

Received $6.5 million in Stimulus funds from Section 1603. Bankrupt: July 2, 2012.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Thompson River Power (TRP), a Montana Power plant, “shows how efforts of President Barack Obama’s administration to fund green-energy jobs extend beyond high-profile failures such as Solyndra LLC.” The plan was that TRP would operate on 100% renewable biomass.

The Biomass Power Association said of TRP: “Upon completion of testing and minor conversions to biomass, TRP is a worker-ready resource, which will employ 18 full-time, family-wage workers at the site, as well as an additional 30-40 jobs for the responsible biomass fuel collection and progression of defensible communities in Sanders County.”

Unconfirmed:

LSP Energy

Mountain Plaza Inc.

Olsen Crop Service/Olsen Mills

Willard & Kelsey Solar Group

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Obama’s energy leadership shouldn’t be followed

Because energy security is such a vital component of U.S. foreign policy, it was disappointing that it received little more than a brief mention in the final Presidential Debate.

Early in the debate, President Obama, once again, lauded his policies for decreasing America’s oil imports. This is hardly something to brag about. Gasoline consumption is down due to the overall bad economy—fewer people driving to work; and the high prices—fewer people driving for pleasure travel, like a vacation.

He also tried to take credit for the increased oil and gas production at home. It’s been frequently proven that production is up, not because of his policies, in spite of them.

Obama reaffirmed his commitment to “clean energy,” claiming that such “technologies will allow us to cut our exports in half by 2020.” Fact checkers are not likely to extend their efforts there, so allow me.

The President has sunk billions and billions of taxpayer dollars into failing enterprises—Solyndra and A123 Systems are just the first and the most recent domino to fall. The majority of these “clean energy” companies produce electricity—and we do not import electricity. Generating more electricity from wind and solar will not “cut our imports in half.”

The only way to “cut our imports in half” is to open up federal lands to exploration and extraction, and expedite permitting to encourage domestic drilling. During last night’s debate, Governor Romney reiterated his commitment to “taking full advantage” of our domestic resources.

In his closing statement, Governor Romney said: “The President’s path will mean continuing declining in take home pay.” While he didn’t specifically address energy here, it is a factor.

As energy costs continue to rise—both electricity and transportation fuels—under President Obama’s policies, everyone’s disposable income goes down with the poor being hit the hardest. The middle class can’t stimulate the economy by buying a new dress, computer, or car, and the poor have to make harsh decisions between heating and eating. The disadvantaged become even more disadvantaged. With “the kind of leadership” President Obama has shown, let’s hope that on November 6 his followers are few.

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

 

 

 

Dems don’t view climate change as winning issue

Posted on 11. Sep, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment, Politics

Nobody pays much attention to the party platform—including the party, until some piece of it makes headline news.

At last week’s Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, the official “platform” was destined to the usual low profile until the Republicans made headlines over the fact that the Democrats had dropped the word “God” and removed language regarding Jerusalem as the capital of Israel—both of which were present in the 2008 party platform.

One day after approving the official party platform, the omission was reversed in a contentious voice vote from the floor that attracted even more attention to the matter.

Addressing the relevance of a party platform, NPR said: “The platform itself is a relic from the days when the parties were far more important institutions.”

While the platform may hold little sway over the candidate’s views or what actually happens in the next four years, it does outline some distinct contrasts between the parties on some major issues.

For example, the Republican platform opposes abortion under any circumstance, while the Democratic platform supports abortion at any time. Both, also, have well-known, opposite views on gay marriage.

These differences where highlighted last week in Charlotte as the Democrats gave key speaking spots to Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards and Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke and to openly gay Representatives Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin.

One report cites an Orthodox Jew—sporting a beard and a payot and wearing a black suit and broad-brimmed hat—as saying: “In speech after speech, they promoted gay marriage. I don’t think there was a single speech without it.” Even Michelle Obama’s speech supported the controversial themes.

Clearly, the DNC hasn’t shied away from polarizing issues—which makes the public absence of another platform plank all the more curious: climate change.

The 2012 Democratic Party Platform mentions climate change 18 times, while the 2012 Republican Party Platform mentions it only once (page 40)—and then only to criticize “the emphasis on climate risks in Obama administration military planning documents.”

The Huffington Post calls climate change “one of the starkest contrasts between the recently released Democratic and Republican party platforms.”

Some of the climate change language from the 2012 Democratic Party Platform includes:

“We know that global climate change is one of the biggest threats of this generation—an economic, environmental, and national security catastrophe in the making.

We affirm the science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing the pollution that causes climate change, and know we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits. President Obama has been a leader on this issue.

We have developed historic fuel efficiency standards that will limit greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles for the first time in history, made unprecedented investments in clean energy, and proposed the first-ever carbon pollution limits for new fossil-fuel-fired power plants.

As we move towards lower carbon emissions, we will continue to support smart, energy efficient manufacturing. Democrats pledge to continue showing international leadership on climate change, working toward an agreement to set emission limits in unison with other emerging powers.

Democrats will continue pursuing efforts to combat climate change at home as well, because reducing our emissions domestically—through regulation and market solutions—is necessary to continue being an international leader on this issue.

We understand that global climate change may disproportionately affect the poor, and we are committed to environmental justice.”

“We can … concentrate our resources and attention abroad on the areas that are the greatest priority moving forward.

This means directing more energy toward crucial problems, including longstanding threats like nuclear proliferation and emerging dangers such as cyber attacks, biological weapons, climate change, and transnational crime.”

“The national security threat from climate change is real, urgent, and severe. The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of vital ecosystems across the globe.

That is why, in addition to undertaking measures to enhance energy independence and promote efficiency, clean energy, and renewable sources of power here at home, the President and the Democratic Party have steadily worked to build an international framework to combat climate change.

We will seek to implement agreements and build on the progress made during climate talks in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban, working to ensure a response to climate change policy that draws upon decisive action by all nations.

Our goal is an effective, international effort in which all major economies commit to reduce their emissions, nations meet their commitments in a transparent manner, and the necessary financing is mobilized so that developing countries can mitigate the effects of climate change and invest in clean energy technologies.

That is why the Obama administration has taken a leadership role in ongoing climate negotiations, working to ensure that other major economies like China and India commit to taking meaningful action. It is also why we have worked regionally to build clean energy partnerships in Asia, the Americas, and Africa.”

“And we will continue to champion sustainable growth that includes the clean energy that creates green jobs and combats climate change.”

With the scare tactics involved—calling climate change “one of the biggest threats of this generation,” a “catastrophe in the making,” a “national security threat” that is “real, urgent and severe,” and one of “the greatest dangers we face” likened to “terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber and biological attacks,” and “transnational crime”—you’d think it deserved at least as much mention on the podium as abortion or gay marriage.

There shouldn’t have been “a speech without it.” However, according to a report by the Daily Caller, it received only one mention in more than 80 speeches during the first two days.

Additionally, none of its big supporters were given a spot on the podium. Neither Representatives Henry Waxman or Ed Markey—the authors of the failed cap-and-trade bill, nor the high priest of global warming, Al Gore, were given a role in Charlotte.

At the 2012 DNC, unlike 2008 where he “strode onto the stage at Denver’s Invesco Field to a hero’s welcome,” Gore reportedly was “nowhere in sight.” Markey was in town and did participate in an off-site panel discussion on energy hosted by Politico.

There he called clean energy “a debate that wins.” He said, “We think this revolution is something to brag about.” Yet, the best attention the green energy/climate change issue got was a vague reference to “increasing climate volatility” from a “least watched” speech by Tom Steyer, co-founder of the Advanced Energy Economy trade association, a “passing reference” from Bill Clinton regarding “reducing greenhouse gases,” and, on Thursday, former presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry added: “an exceptional country does care about the rise of the oceans and the future of the planet.”

Why so little attention for an issue that is one of the “biggest threats of this generation?”

Perhaps, just days away from the anniversary of the Solyndra scandal, they didn’t want to remind people of President Obama bragging about how Solyndra is the model for green jobs of the future, only to have them fail—costing more than a thousand jobs and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Or, how the failed green-energy loan guarantee program exposed the favor his friends in high places received.

Maybe they didn’t want to draw attention to Obama’s failed promise to push through a cap-and-trade program—as was a part of the 2008 Democratic Party Platform. Or, to the higher energy costs the green-energy emphasis has brought to manufacturing—causing jobs to be outsourced—and that “disproportionately affect the poor.”

They probably didn’t want to have to answer questions about CO2 emissions being the lowest in twenty years without the onerous, job-killing policies favored by the Democrats. Or, why European countries are abandoning their green-energy policies, ending green-energy subsidies, and are pursuing coal, shale gas, and off-shore drilling.

Whatever the reason, the obvious exclusion at the DNC makes clear that the Democrats don’t view climate change as a winning issue. The strong language included in the party platform is more likely, as NPR stated: “the platform is used as a pressure valve for activists within the party’s base.”

In contrast, Republicans realize the economic damage and job-killing ramifications of pursuing an agenda like that laid out in the Democratic Party Platform. They know that, right now, jobs and the economy are where they need to focus—and that is “something to brag about.”

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.


 

 

 

 

The “Yes, you can” vs. “No, you can’t” energy plan

Posted on 01. Sep, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment

President Obama’s energy policies have kept investment and jobs out of America; Romney’s energy plan can bring money and jobs back.

Analysts are picking apart Romney’s 21-page energy plan that was introduced in Hobbs, New Mexico, on Thursday. Is energy independence by 2020 possible, or is it, as the Financial Times posited, “an act of hubris?” More important than whether or not his energy play is realistic is the international implications of his “independence” assertion and how he plans to get there.

As the news coverage reminds us, “Every US president since Richard Nixon has set an objective of reducing the country’s reliance on foreign oil, and most of them have failed.”

President Obama’s approach has been to “end the age of oil.” To that end, he has poured billions of dollars into green energy projects—many of which were risky investments that have now failed or are headed for failure.

His approach has done nothing to reduce our reliance on foreign oil—though we are importing less due to the bad economy and high prices, and the new oil boom presently centered on North Dakota. To companies looking to invest in any kind of extractive endeavor, his policies have screamed “You can’t!”

Romney’s plan is to open up US resources off the east coast and in Alaska; make it easier to obtain permits for oil and gas production, and other energy projects; transfer control of development from the federal government to state authorities; approve the Keystone XL pipeline; and ensure that environmental regulations do not prevent the use of coal. The Romney plan, shouts “You can!”

How will Romney’s plan invite global investment back to America, while Obama’s approach chased it away? The Gulf of Mexico saga offers a simple example.

Drilling rigs cost millions of dollars a day to operate. Following the Deepwater Horizon accident, the Obama administration put a moratorium on activity in the Gulf.

Rigs sat idle; people were laid off; and companies lost billions. Ultimately, many of the rigs left our shores for countries that welcomed them—taking the potential jobs and revenues with them, and adding to the economic damage in the region.

Like the rig owners need to have their assets working, all companies need to have growth. If they cannot work in the US, they are virtually forced to do business in other countries.

Those countries often have governments that do not respect the rule of law, making doing business there more risky than similar activities in the US. But, at least they can do business there. In America, they can’t. Additionally, the cheaper labor and lower taxes made the risk/reward ratio attractive.

However, recent history tells us that the reward may no longer be worth the risk.

Russia

A few days ago, ConocoPhilips announced that it is retreating from its position in Russia by disposing of its 30 percent stake in the NaryanMarNefteGaz joint venture to its partner Lukoil, the Russian oil group, and is now focusing mainly on developed countries and on North America in particular.

Last month, a Russian decision against BP “demonstrates the perils faced by foreign investors in Russia.” The Financial Times reports: “the ruling has sent a chill through Moscow’s foreign investment community” and shows “the uncertainties faced by western companies that go into business with powerful local partners.”

Nigeria

Also last month, Shell shed its prolific onshore Nigerian oil assets for $850 million, less than the estimated $1 billion value.

Shell is now refocusing its Nigerian efforts offshore, “where rigs are better insulated from oil theft, militancy, and the legal constraints of operating in an area that is vulnerable both environmentally and economically.” Shell’s appetite for Nigerian exploration has been waning for months.

In February, Ian Craig, Shell’s director for sub-Saharan Africa, said: “The greatest challenge, however, is the massive organised oil theft business and the criminality and corruption which it fosters. This drives away talent … increases costs, reduces revenues both for investors and the government and results in major environmental impacts.”

Argentina

In April, the Argentinian government under, President Cristina Kirchner “nationalized” Spain’s flagship oil company, Repsol’s YPF unit and caused Repsol’s stock to plummet.

The relationship between Repsol’s YPF and Kirchner’s corrupt government has been troubled for at least four years, and the fate is now in the hands of the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in New York.

South Africa

In South Africa a different verse of the same song is playing out, as apartheid-era type violence plagues mining operations.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Investors already have been worried this year by a debate about nationalization of South African mines.” WSJ reports: “Mining accounts for about 9% of South Africa’s gross domestic product.

But despite the country’s rich resources, South Africa has failed to ride the global commodity boom due to lack of investment in infrastructure.”

Addressing the violence at a platinum mine, owned by London-based Lonmin (one of the world’s largest primary producers of platinum group metals), that claimed 44 lives, Mathews Phosa, the treasurer general of the ruling African National Congress, said: “The incident at Lonmin has had a very negative and a very devastating impact internationally. It has created a lot of uncertainties for investors. We need to assure investors that this will never happen again.”

These are just a few examples of the risks multi-national companies are taking—nationalization, theft, corruption—by doing business in countries with unstable governments.

The increased risk results in lower rewards. Yes, the extractive industries do have to go where the resource is located, but all things being equal, they’d rather, as ConocoPhillips has acknowledged, do business with “developed countries”—if they can.

Romney’s energy plan is the equivalent of rolling out the red carpet and inviting the global investment community to America, where, despite Representative Maxine Waters’ suggestion, we do not “nationalize” private industry—and we do have the resource.

A soon-to-be-released report from Noble Royalties Inc. and Netherland, Sewell and Associates Inc., based entirely on data from US federal government sources, reviews the potential of oil and gas development on Federal Lands in Alaska, the lower 48 onshore, and the Gulf of Mexico and offers insight into how the Romney energy plans could totally change the dynamics of America’s economy.

The report states that leasing on federal lands is at a 30-year low—50 percent of what it was under the Clinton administration.

The report points out that allowing drilling in Alaska, just enough to fill the pipeline back up to historic levels, would generate $318.1 billion in gross revenue—which would result in $39.3 billion in new royalty revenues to the federal government.

Combining the Alaskan numbers with oil and gas extraction from the lower 48 onshore and the Gulf of Mexico, bringing leasing on federal lands back to historic levels would generate $785.4 billion in new revenue for the federal coffers.

Note: this figure does not include potential development from the east and west coasts or leasing beyond historic levels. The report finds that new activity on Federal lands will create $5.02 trillion in taxable revenue and significantly increase jobs (think North Dakota with the lowest unemployment in the country).

Not only will increased development on federal lands create new wealth and new revenue streams, but not adding to the current low-level of leasing will cause a loss of $40 billion over the next five years, due to declining reserves in Alaska.

The numbers from this new report are conservative. Remember they are based on known historic results (91 percent of undiscovered resources on onshore federal lands are either inaccessible or restricted), and do not include potential development.

Additionally, the report only addresses oil and gas development on federal lands. It doesn’t include development on private land—which will also create new revenue streams for the federal government, development on either coast, and it doesn’t address other resources, such as coal, uranium, copper, tungsten, or rare earth elements that are all in demand in a global market and are found in abundance in the U.S.

If a President Romney uses the benefit of the bully pulpit to tout the new access to American resources, even half as much as President Obama has done to push green energy, companies could come flocking back to do business under the stable, rule-of-law, American government. Good paying jobs would be created, local economies would be stimulated, and new wealth would be developed—all without a penny of government investment.

This, not “independence by 2020” is the true benefit of the Romney energy plan—though as the WSJ states, “the ‘independence’ trope polls well.” Instead of “You can’t!” the Romney energy plan says: “You can!” It opens up a third option to solve America’s economic stagnation.

There are more options than just raising taxes or cutting spending, the Romney energy plan has the potential to bring investment back to the US and introduces “wealth creation” that is like finding a pot of gold buried in the American backyard.

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.


Higher energy prices and energy shortages on the way

Posted on 26. Aug, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment

“Once real numbers have come out about renewable energy costs, people are having second thoughts,” reported Maureen Masten, Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources and Senior Advisor on Energy to Governor Bob McDonnell, VA,  while addressing his “all of the above energy” strategy to meet the state’s energy needs.

The real costs of renewable energy are coming out—both in dollars and daily impacts. After years of hearing about “free” energy from the sun and wind, people are discovering that they’ve been lied to.

On Tuesday, August 14, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) approved a new renewable energy rate rider that will allow the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) to start recovering a portion of its recent development costs for building five solar facilities around the state, a pilot solar facility with battery storage, and wind resource procurements.

The renewable rider could be on ratepayers’ bills by the end of the month—“depending on when the commission publishes its final order,” said PNM spokeswoman Susan Spooner.

The rate rider currently represents about a $1.34 increase for an average residence using 600 kilowatt hours of electricity per month—or a little more than $16 per year.

This increase seems miniscule until you realize that this is only a small part of increases to come. PNM needs to recover $18.29 million in renewable expenditures in 2012 and the rate rider only addresses monies spent in the last four to five months. The remaining expense will be carried into 2013.

Like more than half of the states in the US, New Mexico has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that mandates public utilities have set percentages of their electricity from renewable sources. In New Mexico the mandate is 10 percent this year, 15 percent by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020.

Most states—with the exception of California (which is 33 percent by 2020)—have similar benchmarks. To meet the mandates, PNM will need considerably more renewable energy with dramatically more expense—all of which ultimately gets passed on to the customer. PNM acknowledges that the rider will increase next year and predicts the total cost recovery for 2013 to be about $23 million.

By 2020, based on the current numbers of approximately $20 million a year invested, resulting in a $24 a year increase, consumers’ bills will go up about $200 a year just for the additional cost of inefficient renewable energy.

Had the PRC not approved the special rate rider, costs would be even higher. Typically rate increases are only approved at periodic rate case hearings, usually held every few years.

The system of only allowing rate increases after a lengthy hearing, keeps the costs hidden from the consumer for longer but increases costs to the utility and, ultimately, the consumer, due to interest charges on the borrowed money. PNM believes the rider will allow for more “timely recovery of costs,” resulting in a $2.7 million savings.

Environmental groups, who’ve been pushing for the renewable energy increases, opposed the special renewable rate rider and have threatened a potential appeal of the PRC’s decision. It is hard to tout “free” energy when there is a special line on the utility bill that clearly points out the new charge for renewables.

Pat Lyons, Chairman of the Public Regulation Commission, told me that he’d pushed for a year and a half to get the rate rider listed on utility bills: “With the support of the commissioners, ratepayers will now have transparency. This is the first step toward full disclosure regarding the real cost of renewables. Once we have that, maybe we can let the free market work.”

So, renewable electricity is hardly free. It also isn’t there when you need it—like in the predictable summer heat of California.

To meet their 33 percent renewable mandate, California’s utility companies, like New Mexico, have been installing commercial renewable electricity facilities—with wind capable of providing about 6 percent, and solar 2 percent, of the state’s electric demand.

But in the summer heat, the wind doesn’t blow much and the solar capacity drops by about 50 percent when the demand is the highest.

Despite increasing renewable capacity and an exodus of the population, California has been facing threats of rolling brown/blackouts due to potential shortages. TV and radio ads blanket the air waves begging consumers to limit electricity usage by setting their air conditioners at 78 degrees and using household appliances only after 6PM.

Flex Alerts” have been issued stating: “conservation remains critical.” “Consumers are urged to reduce energy use,” “California ISO balances high demand for electricity with tight power supplies” and “maintain grid reliability.”

Even with expedited permitting, California cannot build renewable electricity generation fast enough. Environmentalists block construction due to species habitat, such as that of the desert tortoise or the kit fox.

If they oppose renewable energy construction, you can imagine the vitriol they extend toward coal, natural gas, and nuclear.

There is a big push to shut down nuclear power plants and new natural-gas plants, which are ideal for meeting the needs of “peak demand,”are fought by the very same groups that are pushing electric cars.

San Diego-based, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock observed: “Right at the moment in California, building new electricity generating power plants of any kind is politically taboo. Electricity itself is becoming politically taboo.”

Texas has been faced with both increasing costs and fears of shortages. “Concerned about adequate electricity supplies,” the Texas Public Utility Commission recently voted to allow electricity generators to charge up to 50 percent more for wholesale power.

The increase is to encourage the building of new power plants in the state with the highest capacity in the country for wind electricity generation.

Apparently new electricity-generating power plants are politically taboo in Texas, too—at least within the environmental community. Instead of encouraging new power plants to be built, Ken Kramer, the Texas head of the Sierra Club, said, “A better idea would be to encourage more energy-saving programs”—perhaps like setting the thermostat to 78 degrees and not turning on appliances until after 6PM.

When will Americans revolt over being forced to use less while paying more?

We know that high energy prices are just the beginning of inflation that raises the cost of everything from food to clothing to manufactured goods.

When the cost of manufacturing goes up, industry moves to countries with lower-priced energy, cheaper labor, and more reasonable regulations. Jobs go overseas and we import more. The trade deficit grows, and America is less competitive.

The higher electricity costs are 100 percent due to government regulation and legislation that are unreasonably crushing American businesses and ratepayers—much like the pressure England imposed on the American colonies that launched the American Revolution.

Paul Revere alerted the early settlers—“the Red Coats are coming, the Red Coats are coming”—which brought people into the town square where they joined forces and rallied together. Their cooperative effort was so effective that those early Americans made it so painful for the Red Coats that they abandoned their objective.

People who hear me speak often describe me as the Ann Coulter of energy.

Due to the childhood nickname of “Bunny,” my family refers to me as the Energizer Bunny. But today, I feel like the Paul Revere of energy: “Higher energy prices are coming. Energy shortages are coming.”

What remains to be seen is how the citizens of America will respond. Will we gather in the figurative town square and join forces, making it too painful for the use-less, pay-more agenda to continue?

Will we force state legislators to abandon the RPS? Will we rally together in opposition to the EPA’s cost-increasing regulations? Will we turn out a president who is more concerned with lining his cronies’ pockets than doing what is best for Americans?

Unless the publicly-inflicted pain forces the abandonment of the objective, “Higher energy prices are coming. Energy shortages are coming.”

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.


 

 

 

 

Republican Party should stand with nominee on wind energy

Posted on 25. Aug, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment

For twenty years American taxpayers have been supporting the wind energy industry through the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and twenty before that in various forms of favoritism.

Each time it is scheduled to expire, the lobbyists from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) fight for its extension, claiming the infant industry is almost ready to stand on its own and just needs a little more help. The PTC appeals to an emotional and ideological viewpoint as the idea of “free” energy seems attractive—but it can’t stand up when viewed through the filter of facts and science.

Now that the true costs—both in dollars and daily impacts—of inefficient, ineffective, and uneconomical renewable electricity are becoming known, people are having second thoughts and public support has waned.

Like wind energy is from a different century (specifically the 18th century), the PTC comes from a different political era—a time when politicians were reelected based on the “pork” they could bring home to their constituents.

Today, America is in an economic war and her citizens know it. Big spenders are being ostracized, replaced with political newbies who understand the timbre of the times. Republicans, especially, want fiscal responsibility.

They see the public failure of the Obama administration’s funding of solar energy projects as crony corruption. Republicans understand that the wind energy industry, as the AWEA and wind energy manufacturers happily tout, will totally collapse without government support and there is no appetite for more government spending especially when it results in higher electricity prices and lost manufacturing jobs.

The monies spent on renewable energy subsidies—such as the PTC—will never be recouped. These industries are a net drain on the Treasury.

Mitt Romney boldly announced his opposition to the extension of the PTC—while Obama continues to emphasize his belief in emotion and ideology over fact and science.

Democrats, and a few misguided Republicans, point to “energy independence” as the rationale for more expensive renewable energy such wind and solar.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Government programs throw taxpayer dollars at these industries to provide electricity, but America is already electricity independent.

We do not import electricity and we have enough coal, natural gas, and uranium within our shores to provide for our growing electricity needs for centuries to come. Any electricity shortages being felt in this hot, summer season are as a result of the dearth of new power plants being built—not due to fuel shortages.

While delegates are packing, members of the platform committee were communicating; presenting various ideas as to what should be included.

The Republican Party should have joined with their nominee and made opposition to the PTC an official part of the party platform. Instead, Tuesday night, it missed an opportunity to differentiate itself from the opposition and “decided to speak in generalities about an all-of-the-above energy policy”—even when “all-of-the-above” doesn’t make economic sense.  What about “all that is sensible?”

These comments were submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.


World’s Third Largest Power Company Third Largest Recipient of Risky DOE Loans

Posted on 18. Aug, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment

Through this special series on green-energy crony-corruption, we’ve been highlighting specific examples of green-energy loan guarantees and grants.

What connects each of these cases is that they received fast-tracked approval from the Department of Interior (DOI) for their projects. Of course, they also have many other dots that connect, such as key players with White House visits, raising funds for Democratic campaigns, and serving within government agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE) or as an appointed member to President Obama’s Job’s Council.

Now we come to the last of our “special seven” series. Like those before it, it contains many inside players and funding from various “stimulus” government programs.

While Lewis Hay (the CEO of NextEra Energy) with his White House involvement and friendship with former Florida Governor Charlie Crist make for some juicy details in the NextEra story, we’ll begin with a brief background that will help put this next piece of the green-energy crony-corruption scandal in perspective.

NextEra Energy, Inc. is one of the oldest, third largest, and arguably one of the most solid power companies in the world, with “2011 revenues [that] totaled more than $15.3 billion.” It is estimated by Forbes, that CEO “Hay earns nearly $10 million in total compensation from NextEra.”

NextEra Energy Inc. has two primary subsidiaries:

  • Florida Power & Light is the third largest electricity producer in the US (about which a September 2009 report states: “it’s a political dynamo, making millions in political contributions and lobbying assiduously to achieve its goals”).
  • NextEra Energy Resources is the largest generator of energy from sun and wind resources in North America. The company also has the third largest fleet (8) of nuclear powered electricity generating plants in the United States.

Money

With its wealth and widespread influence, the DOE gave this huge energy conglomerate nearly $2 billion of taxpayer money, which includes the two risky projects listed below, plus hundreds of millions more in various stimulus grants.

Desert Sunlight: $1.2 billion - In September 2011, the DOE approved a $1.2 billion loan guarantee for the junk-rated Desert Sunlight project in California. A day after the loan was approved, First Solar, the project developer/owner sold Desert Sunlight to NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, the competitive energy subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc. and GE Energy Financial Services.

Both CEO’s are on President Obama’s Job Council: Lewis Hay of NextEra Energy and Jeffrey Immelt of GE.  (Immelt is another top Obama donor, donating $529,855 to his 2008 campaign. Note: GE has raked in more than $3 billion of stimulus money, and counting.)

Genesis Solar Project: $681.6 million - But as we reported in the beginning of this series, the Desert Sunlight Project is not the only large DOE “risky” loan that NextEra secured. NextEra Energy Resources also received $681.6 million from the DOE for its Genesis Solar project in Blythe, California. This was one of the few DOE 1705 loans that were not considered junk rated, as S&P placed it at a “lower medium grade.”

Environment

Remember that the common denominator of these “special seven” projects was a “fast-tracked DOI approval?” The policy has come back to bite the projects.

According to the Los Angeles Times (LAT), “The $1-billion Genesis Solar Energy Project has been expedited by state and federal regulatory agencies that are eager to demonstrate that the nation can build solar plants quickly to ease dependence on fossil fuels and curb global warming.

Instead, the project is providing a cautionary example of how the rush to harness solar power in the desert can go wrong—possibly costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and dealing an embarrassing blow to the Obama administration’s solar initiative.”

The problem is the “expedited” process may endanger the whole project. The House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform’s March 20, 2012 report says, “To expedite site approval, NextEra opted for a less thorough process.” As a result, the site “encroached on the habitat of the endangered kit foxes.” NextEra had to move the foxes prior to grading the site. “Ultimately, seven foxes died from NextEra’s removal process.”

Additionally, there have been concerns of desert tortoises and a “prehistoric human settlement.”

But warring factions within the environmental movement also plague the NextEra Genesis Solar project.

A small environmental group, the Wildlands Conservancy, raised $45 million to preserve 600,000 acres of the Mojave Desert—with the intent that it would be protected forever.

The LAT reports, the Wildlands Conservancy bought the land and deeded it to the federal government only to have 50,000 acres of that bequest opened up for solar development.

April Sall, the organization’s conservation director says, the group is “watching this big conservation legacy practically go under a bulldozer.” Sall’s group and others are feeling “burned by the rush to build solar projects.”

The small environmental groups are trying to fight utility-scale solar projects while the big national groups, such as the Sierra Club, have “scolded” some of the local chapters for opposing the projects. A national office directive instructed local chapters to “fall in line.”

Michael O’ Sullivan, senior vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources, says that “the problems threaten the entire project” and “the project could become uneconomical.”

If that were to happen, the LAT explains, “80% of the project’s outstanding loans would be covered by the federal government, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management would begin shopping for another renewable energy company that was interested in leasing the property. If there were no takers, the scarred land would be restored with reclamation bond funds.”

Smart-Grid and Wind Energy Grants

In October 2009, Florida Power & Light (FLP) was awarded the maximum grant amount of $200 million for Energy Smart Florida.

Interestingly, this is connected to Silver Spring Networks, one of Kleiner Perkins shining green companies, where John Doerr (another jobs council member that was influential in what went into the energy-sector of the 2009-stimulus) and Al Gore are partners, of which their 2008, $75 million investment had scored over $700 million.

The DOE started dishing out billions from the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program (part of the stimulus plan) in August 2009 and awarded select utility companies for particular smart-grid projects––close to 60% of Silver Spring “customers” were winners.

In fact, Florida Power and Light, Silver Spring, General Electric, and a few others have joined forces on a Smart Grid Miami project, which was announced in 2009.

(Note: if you are not familiar with the Smart Grid, Brian Sussman’s book Eco-Tyranny offers an overview which includes this: “President Obama cleverly sold it like this: ‘We want to invest in the next-generation of high-speed wireless coverage for 98 percent of Americans.

This isn’t just about a faster Internet or being able to friend someone on Facebook. It’s about connecting every corner of America to the digital age.’ The digital age Obama spoke of is the age of Big Brother monitoring your carbon footprint.

The Smart Grid’s interactive broadband capability will enable your home’s PCT, HAN, and smart meter to be connected and communicating with your utility provider. Once complete, the utility company will be your government-sponsored Big Brother, constantly monitoring and regulating your carbon footprint. With a bureaucratic keystroke any electrical device in your home could be selectively turned off—or on—without your approval.”)

Also, you’ll be “blown away” by the billions ($4.4) of “wind energy grants” that blew out of the stimulus package back in February 2010. General Electric is connected to at least 26% of these wind energy grants as the “Turbine Manufacturer.” NextEra is the “project owner” and the recipient of a $99.9 million grant for a wind project in Colorado.

Politics

So, NextEra Energy, a multi-billion dollar company with a CEO who’s paid multi-millions, gets government grants and loan guarantees worth billions for risky projects that you and I wouldn’t have voluntarily invested in that even the environmentalists can’t agree on.

Despite the fact that NextEra CEO Hay was actually a “major political contributor to Sen. John McCain,” Hay quickly learned which side his bread was buttered on. (FPL employees and PACs have been known to give generously to both sides including $18,800 to Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign.)

On October 8, 2009, Hay dined at the White House in an intimate lunch “with President Barack Obama and a handful of other Fortune 500 executives.” Hay reportedly “boasted to the president about FPL Group’s environmental achievements and Florida Power & Light’s plans to open the nation’s largest solar power plant.”

He also “discussed his belief that forward-looking, clean-energy policies are vital to America’s economic recovery and FPL Group’s strong support for legislation to combat global warming and strengthen America’s energy security.”

The opportunity to grandstand obviously worked. Later, in the same month, Hay’s FPL’s DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Aracadia, Florida, provided Obama with the perfect backdrop for his announcement about the “nation’s biggest investment in clean energy.”

The press release from the White House said: “President Barack Obama today announced the largest single energy grid modernization investment in U.S. history, funding a broad range of technologies that will spur the nation’s transition to a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electric system. … The $3.4 billion in Smart Grid Investment Grant awards are part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.”

While the announcement regarding the smart-grid grant disbursement was like “Christmas morning” for the 100 recipients, FPL received the maximum $200 million grant, as previously addressed, “to buy 2.6 million new smart utility meters to be placed in homes over the next two years and invest in other technology aimed at cutting energy costs.”

And those risky loan guarantees issued to NextEra for the Desert Sunlight and Genesis Solar projects were approved after Obama’s “stimulus PR swing” appearance at FPL’s DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center.

Hay and FPL have a long history of political contributions and have a “cozy relationship” with career politician former Governor Charlie Crist—Republican turned Independent to run against Marco Rubio in 2010, only to lose.

In June 2009, FPL and its executives donated more than $36,000 to Crist’s Senate campaign, and Hay was an invited guest at Crist’s December 2008 wedding. While, we don’t know if Hay actually attended the Crist wedding, we do know that he donated to Marco Rubio’s 2010 campaign––what a difference two years make.

Thomas Saporito, an energy consultant and former FPL employee is quoted as saying: “It certainly appears to me that Gov. Crist and certain PSC Commissioners have a very cozy relationship with FPL at a time when FPL is seeking an unprecedented $1.3-billion dollar rate increase.” Crist announced his opposition to FPL’s rate hike but objections were limited to a press release and a few comments to reporters.

Keeping with the “cozy relationship” model of doing business, Hay joined wealthy Democratic donors on Obama’s Jobs Council in 2011—of which at least five members have direct ties (two indirect) to firms that were awarded billions of clean-energy stimulus money and four are confirmed Obama donors.

Since the creation of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, the members have pushed for renewable energy subsidies. In October 2011, these Obama advisors who’ve financially benefited from green energy projects—such as Hay—issued a report calling for among other things, “a new federal financing program to attract private investment for clean energy projects via loan guarantees and other tools.”

Hay is just one of the many Council members with green energy connections. Citigroup’s Richard Parsons with ties to SolarReserve, , GE’s Jeffrey Immelt and its $3 billion of green-government subsidies, as well as John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins ,withmore than fifty percent of its Greentech Portfolio having received money from the energy-sector of the stimulus package and through other government programs approved by the Obama administration.

These Jobs Council members (known for their “job outsourcing”) —and others—who’ve benefited from the deal making, deserve a more thorough (forthcoming) exposé. We’ll call it “Spreading the Wealth to Obama’s Wealthy Jobs Council Members.”

Author’s note: Thanks to Christine Lakatos, the Green Corruption blogger, for research assistance. Unless project-specific funding is raised, this will be the last in the green-energy crony-corruption series.

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the end of an Obama second term, 40% of our natural resources will be imported!

Posted on 14. Aug, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Energy/Environment, Politics

During a recent trip to Washington DC, I heard that “by the end of his second term, President Obama wants 40% of our natural resources to be imported.” Like Harry Reid’s “Bain Capital investor,” my source is reliable: a Capitol Hill staffer. While I do not have a secret White House memo to validate the premise, it explains a lot.

Oil — During his 2008 campaign, candidate Obama made it clear that he doesn’t have a problem with $4-a-gallon gas. His Energy Secretary is on record as having said that he thinks our gasoline prices should be more in line with those of Europe—which are typically more than double ours in the US. We know that supply issues are one of the leading drivers of higher gasoline prices, yet Obama’s policy decisions—such as Keystone—lead to reducing the resource.

In his first campaign ad of the season, President Obama touted his record on oil, claiming that we have more domestic production in America than at any time in recent history. While this is true, it is not thanks to his policies.

The majority of the oil extraction is on private land, mostly thanks to North Dakota’s Bakken Field. The development that is being done on federal lands is thanks to leases made and wells permitted during the Bush administration.

New oil and gas leases and permits on federal land are down 50% under the Obama administration compared to the Clinton administration.

Because of the time it takes to bring a federal lease into production (5-10 years)—especially with the Obama Department of Interior policies, he is likely setting the US up for an oil shortage (even without Middle Eastern unrest) by the end of a potential second term that will send gasoline prices past his acceptable $4 a gallon, toward Secretary Chu’s “European levels.” With a dearth of new American oil development, we’ll need to import more from places like Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela.

Coal — Candidate Obama’s comment about bankrupting anyone wanting to build a coal-fueled power plant is now widely known. His EPA’s actions surely support the statement as we are seeing record power plant closures.

But it is not just power generation that is under attack, it is the extraction of the source fuel: coal, as well. Earlier this year, the EPA’s decision to pull a legally issued coal-mining permit that had been through years of environmental impact studies and analysis was overturned by the US District Court.

Last week, his EPA was shot down once again. On July 31, the DC district court sided with coal miners. The decision declared that the EPA’s insistence that water discharged from a coal mine be clearer than bottled water was an overreach and should not hold up new mining permits.

While blocking new coal mining will probably not cause the US to import coal, it will prevent us from exporting it. Currently coal is a major export—one of our few exports—that helps bring a balancing element to our trade deficit.

Rare Earth Elements – On March 13, President Obama announced that the US was joining with Japan and the European Union to file a trade complaint before the World Trade Organization in Brussels to insure that China keeps exporting rare-earth elements.

These unique elements, with names like neodymium, europium and dysprosium are what the Japanese call the “seeds of technology” due to their astounding electrical, magnetic, phosphorescent, catalytic, and chemical capabilities. While most Americans are unaware of their existence, rare earths enable everything high-tech we use today—from MRIs, cellphones and iPods to hybrid automobiles and wind turbines—and are extremely important to today’s high-tech defense capabilities.

President Obama is going after China because the Chinese produce more than 95% of all rare earths used in the world by high-tech industry, while sitting on only 23% of the world’s resources.

Obama insists that the Chinese continue to ship rare earths to the rest of the world’s economies despite the fact that the Chinese require the use of essentially all of their rare-earth production in Chinese industries.

The Chinese had announced, in 2011, they could become net importers of some of the most critical rare earths by 2015.  But in July, they said they would be importers a year sooner—in 2014.

And on top of that, the Chinese are creating a national rare-earths stockpile, shutting down production from the worst polluters, and tacking on higher tariffs for those rare earths they will export.

We don’t need a protracted legal hassle in Brussels that won’t produce a single American job or a pound of rare earth produced from America.

The solution is streamlined and accelerated permitting, recognizing that American miners and manufacturers employ the world’s best environmental scientists and engineers and geologists. Instead of paying lawyers to push paper in Brussels, we need to be creating jobs from mining and the upgrading of rare earths in America, providing a secure domestic source of these vital “seeds of technology.”

Land Access — Early in President Obama’s first term, he announced his intention to increase the quantity of national monuments and introduced a new “wild lands” designation—both of which serve to limit the extraction of natural resources. Two such cases I’ve repeatedly addressed are the proposed tungsten mine in Montana and the swath of land that extends from the Mexican border up into rich farming/ranching land that also includes potential oil, gas, and rare-earth extraction in New Mexico.

In the Montana case, the Forest Service continually throws obstacles to extraction in the way of potential mining activity.

Because the tungsten—needed for the manufacture of steel—is located in an inventoried roadless area, the Forest Service has mandated that, among other things, the site must be cleared and, later reclaimed, with hand tools.

The drilling equipment must be hauled to the site with a team of pack mules which must be fed certified weed-free hay—all this to move equipment less than 1000 feet from a Forest Service road. If the case were not so tragic, so representative of similar stories being played out all over America, it would be comical.

In the New Mexico case, ranchers and farmers fear being thrown off of land that has been in their family for generations. With a simple stroke of President Obama’s executive-order pen he could remove 2.5 million acres—though 600,000 is the number generally bandied about—from any economic development or useful purpose by creating a new national monument.

Natural Gas – The currently verbiage coming out of the White House favors natural gas extraction—but actions speak louder than words. America’s newfound natural gas abundance is made possible through the use of multi-stage hydraulic fracturing—which Obama’s EPA has, unsuccessfully, been trying to link to the contamination of drinking water. Plus, we know that much of Obama’s energy policy is driven by an environmentalist agenda—with the Keystone pipeline being the most obvious example.

A few weeks ago, the Sierra Club announced its “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign attacking natural gas, saying “The natural gas industry is dirty, dangerous and running amok,” and “the closer we look at natural gas, the dirtier it appears; and the less of it we burn, the better off we will be.”

With this in mind, by the end of an Obama second term, we can expect the availability of natural gas to be diminished—and what we will have will be far more expensive, driving up the price of what is currently low-cost electricity generation.

Nuclear — We may not think of electricity as a natural resource, but effective, efficient, economical electricity generation requires natural resources: coal, natural gas, uranium, and, occasionally, oil.

Uranium is the source fuel for nuclear power and we have an abundance of it in America—yet we import more than 90% of what we use. A couple of days ago, it was announced that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission “would stop issuing licenses for nuclear plants until it addresses problems with its nuclear-waste policy.”

The “problems with nuclear-waste” are a direct result of White House policy. The Obama administration effectively shut down Yucca Mountain with a 2009 decision to reduce Yucca Mountain’s budget. This new problem for nuclear power has the potential to impact many US reactors.

In Germany, they used to export their nuclear-generated electricity. Since they shut down nearly half of their reactors, they are importing electricity from other countries.

Export or Import??

Former Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee has been out talking about getting the economy “revved up.” Part of his solution? “More exports.”

The goal should be to have 100% of our natural resources to come from within our shores. Yet, as you can see, the Obama plan seems to call for more natural resource imports. 40% by 2016 adds up.

The countries with the best human health and the most material wealth are the countries with the highest energy consumption. So, why is it that Obama’s policies push us to use less energy, while paying more for it?

As we head toward the November 6 Election Day, keep in mind the stark contrast the satellite photo of the Korean Peninsula at night points out—the country without freedom, North Korea, is dark. With nothing separating them but an invisible line and a vastly different style of government, South Korea, the free-market, democratic, and developed country is bright.

Which do you want?

Do you want a bright future badly enough to step out of your comfort zone and talk to friends, family and neighbors; to talk to them about energy and its importance? Take the points made here and share them in good, old-fashioned conversations, and through new media like Facebook and Twitter.

We are down to 8 weeks to save America. Can we do it? With your engagement, “yes, we can!”

This article was submitted by the author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon, who serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE).Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.


 

 

 

 

 

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