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Junk Science Richard Falknor on 01 Nov 2011

Experts Take Down PlanMaryland’s Bad Numbers, Premises

UPDATES!

  • Click here for video of PlanMaryland: At the Crossroads.
  • Marylander Ken Timmerman reveals (Daily Caller) “Md. rural officials, lawmakers threaten tax revolt, mass exodus over environmental plan.” Click here to read entire Timmerman report.

* * * * *

Experts Take Down PlanMaryland’s Bad Numbers, Premises

Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild yesterday assembled a team of world-class experts to put the Martin O’Malley Administration’s PlanMaryland under the microscope.

They announced their results to an estimated 125 souls with a riveting group of slide presentations at the Pikesville Hilton.

PlanMaryland is an Annapolis-controlled “planning” scheme — “collectivization with lipstick,” as we have written  — that could control the coming face of Maryland from housing to cars to property rights.

The kick-off analyst was Christopher Monckton (scroll down in foregoing link for the details of his professional background).  The sometime special adviser to Margaret Thatcher expanded on what had been his top-flight performance last Saturday at the Maryland Conservative Action Network’s “Turning the Tides” conference in Annapolis.

Further Findings

Wendell Cox — “Compact Growth;” Patrick Moffitt –  “Unintended Consequences;” George Frigon — “Are Septic Systems Damaging the Chesapeake?” and Ed Braddy — “Quality of Life Premises” (click here for more detail on each of the expert presenters) told the gathering of county officials, state lawmakers, and grass-roots activists about their own skeptical conclusions on PlanMaryland.

A final assessment of PlanMaryland?  The following “Report Card”  summarizes how Christopher Monckton graded the plan’s major elements —


19 county commissioners or county councilmen, along with five delegates to the General Assembly and two state senators attended the conference to hear the five expert presenters.

Two commissioners, Blaine Young of Frederick County and Cindy Jones of St. Mary’s County, as well as Carroll County commissioners, Robin Frazier and Dave Roush, backstopped conference leader Rothschild.

There is an even larger significance here than the many serious concerns raised by PlanMaryland.

Within the last week, we have seen two statewide meetings organized by the grass-roots representing a new generation of conservative talent in the Old Line State.

At least some of this strength arises from the legacy of the Brian Murphy campaign for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.  (Faithful readers will recall the difficulty of keeping the conservative torch lit during the years of the Ehrlich Ascendancy in the Maryland GOP.)

We expect the conference material — exposing the scientific weaknesses and real-world dangers of PlanMaryland in detail — to be available on line shortly.  Stay tuned.

Culture wars &Junk Science Richard Falknor on 22 Jun 2011

Maryland Imposes Green Statist HS Graduation Rule

Yesterday the Associated Press reported in “Md. Board of Education approves environmental literacy graduation requirement” (via the Washington Post) that –

“BALTIMORE — High school seniors in Maryland will have to be literate on environmental matters to graduate from now on.

Maryland’s Board of Education passed the environmental literacy graduation requirement on Tuesday. Gov. Martin O’Malley says Maryland is now the first state in the nation to have such a requirement. The No Child Left Inside Coalition, which pushed for the requirement, says 48 other states are considering similar requirements, a sign of the increasing popularity of environmental education.

Under the graduation requirement, public schools will be required to infuse core subjects with lessons on conservation, smart growth and other environmental topics. School systems will be able to shape their programs, but they must align with state standards.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

At least two respected conservative commentators, Jonah Goldberg here and Daniel Horowitz here, have criticized the state Board of Education’s action.

We warned last October in our “A Sobering AEI Report on Teaching Civics.”

“Environmental Education” vs. Solid Civics

“Readers may wonder about taxpayer-supported teaching priorities (see Board of Education details in the foregoing link) after reading Lisa Gartner’s Washington Examiner article‘Maryland schools must offer environmental education.’ Who reviews the environmental science in the curricula to ensure that it is sound?  How does ‘environmental education’ comport with learning about established American property rights?  With learning about free-market solutions to important challenges? Here is a Chesapeake Bay Foundation ally rejoicing in the environmental-education development: ‘There will be an Environmental Literacy Summit co-hosted by the MDCLI Coalition and the Chesapeake Bay Trust on October 20th in Annapolis.’ Do we believe that those who are skeptical of anthropogenic global warming will be the stars of this ‘summit’?  How will Maryland environmental education teachers and texts discuss the human cost to malaria-ridden countries of the Rachel Carson legacy?”

Lisa Gartner also noted last September that  – -

Virginia schools must provide students a Chesapeake Bay watershed experience, as well as local restoration and protection project opportunities, in accordance with the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement.”

What Then Is To Be Done?

If past performance is an indicator, the General Assembly GOP leadership is unlikely to be able to focus the public effectively on the danger of multiculturalism (cultural Marxism) or its variants, such as Green Statism, in taxpayer-supported Maryland curricula. 

Consequently the burden must fall on Maryland Tea Partyers, the conservative grass roots, and advocates like the New Renaissance in Education to get individual Maryland legislators in motion — and if necessary to have grass-roots sponsored “shadow hearings” around Maryland, illustrating how teachers are being required to propagandize.

We wondered last October –

“We may (just) be able to roll back Green Statism today, but how long can we keep doing so if new voters have no grasp of our history or are unable to see through the propaganda of statists?”

Fiscal Policy &Junk Science Richard Falknor on 11 Jun 2010

“In Power or In Office?” From Obamacare to the EPA

“Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless. Republicans seem to have difficulty grasping this basic dynamic.”

. . . . .

“Republicans are good at keeping the seat warm. A bigtime GOP consultant was on TV, crowing that Republicans wanted the Dems to pass Obamacare because it’s so unpopular it will guarantee a GOP sweep in November. OK, then what? You’ll roll it back – like you’ve rolled back all those other unsustainable entitlements premised on cobwebbed actuarial tables from 80 years ago?  . . . Andrew McCarthy concluded a shrewd analysis of the political realities thus: ‘Health care is a loser for the Left only if the Right has the steel to undo it. The Left is banking on an absence of steel. Why is that a bad bet?’” – -  Mark Steyn

Yesterday the pro-freedom, pro-prosperity, pro-energy forces in the U.S. Senate were unable to muster the votes to stop the EPA from regulating our economy to combat the questionable threat of greenhouse gases.

Today’s Washington Examiner declares “Senate surrenders to the EPA” – -

“Fifty three of the Senate’s 59 Democrats gave unelected, overpaid bureaucrats at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a green light yesterday to do pretty much whatever they choose in their quixotic crusade against global warming. All 41 Republicans and six brave Democrats voted for Alaska Sen.Lisa Murkowski’s resolution nullifying the EPA’s recent usurpation of authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate the U.S. economy to combat greenhouse gases. Thankfully, this craven surrender of congressional authority isn’t the last word on the issue, assuming that the November elections produce a Senate with enough backbone to reassert the legislature’s rightful power.

In the meantime, it’s vital to understand how bureaucracies function. Whatever else they may do, leading bureaucrats always do two things, regardless of which party controls the White House or Congress: They limit choices available to the rest of us by imposing regulations that increase government power and thus justify expanding their budgets and staffs; and they protect themselves and their turf by suppressing internal dissent, often at any costs.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Freedom Action explained yesterday that “Senate Democrats Vote to ‘Turn Out the Lights on America’”.

Washington, D.C., June, 10, 2010The Senate today defeated by a vote of 47 to 53 the Murkowski Resolution of Disapproval that would stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Six Democrats and all 41 Republican Senators voted for the resolution. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) offered S.J. Res. 26 under the special procedures of the Congressional Review Act, so that the resolution needed only 51 votes for passage.

 

Supporters of EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions had to resort to high-pressure tactics to defeat the Murkowski Resolution.  The White House issued a sternly-worded veto threat.  Environmental pressure groups spent millions of dollars on advertising.  Even that was not enough. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had to promise to hold a vote on a bill that would delay EPA regulations for two years in order to peel several Democratic votes away.

 

‘During today’s debate, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, said that he was voting for the Murkowski Resolution because he didn’t want EPA turning out the lights on America.  Unfortunately, 53 of his fellow Democrats disagreed with Senator Rockefeller and voted to allow EPA to proceed with their regulations to turn out the lights on America,’ Myron Ebell, Director of Freedom Action.

‘Every one of the 53 Democratic Senators who voted against the Murkowski Resolution has now taken full responsibility for the economic consequences of the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations,’ Ebell continued.’These 53 Democratic Senators are responsible for the higher energy prices that will make American families poorer.  They are responsible for every factory that won’t be built and for every job that will be lost.’”

Faithful readers will recall our September 27, 2008 post “The Other Economic Menace: Green Statism” where we pointed out – -

“Lamentably, the Bush Administration allowed this ANPR [Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on regulating carbon-dioxide emissions] to go to the Federal Register. Reportedly, the White House wanted to avoid conflict with Democrat-controlled Congressional committees and an ‘environmentalist’ MSM.”

We also included a handy list detailing how the greenhouse-gas regulation could affect lawn mowers, string trimmers, portable power generators, recreational marine spark-ignition vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, and snowmobiles.

The Obama Administration is pushing very hard to get its statist priorities into law or operation (or both) by 2011.

Last month conservative Senate rules expert Mike Hammond explained “The Way to Block Kagan for Senate Republicans – -

“If the 41 Senate Republicans agreed to oppose cloture (the mechanism through which filibusters can be stopped with 60 out of 100 votes in the Senate) on anything, says Hammond, ‘they could bring the Kagan nomination and a lot of other things to a screeching halt.’”

. . . . .

“Statements that signal a bipartisan approach must stop. That will send a very clear message of ending the policy of ‘business as usual’ dealing with the White House.”

. . . . .

“The late Sen. Helms once observed that when working in tandem with then-Democrat colleagues (and fellow Senate rules experts) Robert Byrd (W.Va.) and James B. Allen (Ala.), legislation and other Senate business could be stalled for more than a month.”

The courage, and the tactics – - stopping the legislative trains  – - Hammond recommends to Senate Republicans to halt the confirmation of Dean Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court would seem equally appropriate to stop the other major Obama statist initiatives until the country has the results of what amounts to a national referendum on the president’s program next November.

In the instant case, bringing such united Senate Republican pressure to bear on the White House by asking the president to sign a two-year legislative deferral on carbon-dioxide regulation would save the economy enormous pain

The real question for the Senate Republican leadership:  is there any Obama initiative you will invoke Senate rules to the fullest to stop during the balance of this Congress? 

If not, it is hard to see this Senate Republican leadership in the next Congress fighting tooth-and-nail against already enacted programs including Obamacare.  Faithful readers will recall our compilation of their missteps in our March 24, 2010 “Shaming a Faltering Senate GOP Leadership into Action”

Our current impression, moreover, is that too many Republican Congressional incumbents are wholly beguiled (and distracted) by a vision of a “blow-out victory” next November. Instead of relying on premature triumphalism, we need commitment to a stubborn, unrelenting fight in the Congress from now until November.









Fiscal Policy &Junk Science &Maryland politics Richard Falknor on 19 Apr 2010

Maryland GOP State Senators Keep On Enabling Statists

Smart Growth is an ideology that restricts land-use thereby making homes less affordable, and tries to diminish our mobility by discouraging automobile use.  It is a kind of collectivization with a seemingly kinder American face. Smart growth did not start with the Obama administration, but this administration has ardently embraced the approach and given it a new lease on life. Maryland lawmakers remain right in step.

As Frederick, Maryland-based transportation expert Peter Samuel explains – -

Smart growth is the slogan driving most current central planning of land use and transportation in and around our cities. Like all central planning it claims for bureaucrats and elected officials a wisdom far superior to that of individuals interacting with one another in voluntary transactions.

But the trouble is, planning is never well-informed and generates unintended consequences. Moreover it is guided by fads and special interests.

The ‘sprawl’ that is so despised by Smart Growth advocates was a product of earlier planners’ single-minded focus on adequate off-street parking that prohibited higher densities by regulation. Maximum floor/space ratios and minimum car-parking places per thousand square feet forced developers to build the very Tysons Corner VA style of development that was the embodiment of an earlier planning ‘fad’ dictating never having to search nor pay for parking.

Smart Growth reflects a strong aesthetic distaste among planners and professional elites for two aspects of American life – travel by automobile and life in single-family houses. It wants to engineer a far greater use of public transit, especially rail transit and walking and biking, and to have a much higher proportion of the population in town houses, and apartments. The planners think a more ‘urban’ lifestyle is so obviously superior that people will come to like it and want it. Meanwhile they use their planning powers to limit the land available for single-family houses, and they obstruct automobile use by resisting building roads large enough to accommodate automobile traffic, while subsidizing supposed ‘alternative’ modes.

The inevitable result of the Smart Growth ideology is a planned scarcity of land zoned for single-family housing and a planned scarcity of road space, all of which means higher costs of family living and diminished mobility.”

“Smart, Green, and Growing – Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission”

The Maryland General Assembly just approved this policy panel which, according to the “MDP [Maryland Department of Planning] advises that the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission will provide the State with a broad representation of stakeholders who can continue to promote a smart and sustainable growth agenda,” the Fiscal and Policy Note explains.

Readers will also note that “Commission members who represent a region of the State must have knowledge of smart growth and planning issues [no dissenters allowed?].”

While 20 out of the 37 House of Delegates Republicans voted against this anti-consumer and anti-private-property panel, only two out of 14 Republican state senators voted against it:  Alex Mooney and Richard Colburn. Out of 51 nominal Republicans in the Maryland General Assembly, only 22 or 43 per cent voted “no.” The House of Delegates Republicans have sharpened up on many critical issues, but too many Maryland Senate Republicans remain content-light – - to put the matter charitably.

In the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, no Republican voted against the Commission.

The Heritage Foundation, and Randal O’Toole’s Anti-Planner  have written extensively on the goals and consequences of Smart Growth: here, here, and here for example, and shockingly – -

Ron Utt: “Obama Administration’s Plan to Coerce People out of Their Cars”

“Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood remarked in May [2009] that his livability initiative ‘is a way to coerce people out of their cars.’ When asked if this was government intrusion into people’s lives, LaHood responded that ‘about everything we do around here is government intrusion in people’s lives,’ a sentiment that would have certainly surprised the authors of the United States Constitution, a document whose major purpose was to restrain government.

LaHood’s endorsement of government coercion comes as no surprise to those who have been tracking the Obama Administration’s incremental endorsements of the environmentalists’ smart growth strategies to slow growth, crowd development, and deter automobile use. And with LaHood’s most recent presentation, the Administration has formally embarked on an unprecedented and costly exercise in social engineering to alter the way Americans live and travel.”

Here is Randal O’Toole’s October 1, 2009 Cato analysis “How Urban Planners Caused the Housing Bubble.” 

Many in the Maryland Senate GOP apparently have trouble getting their arms around personal-freedom and smaller-government concerns. In 2008, only five Maryland Republican state senators voted against the very dangerous “cultural diversity” legislation touching most Maryland universities and colleges.

But, Party stalwarts might say, aren’t these GOP state senators changing in response to the Old Line State’s fiscal excesses? They surely now “get it” on spending–don’t they?  Well, only if “get it” means just eight GOP senators out of 14 voting “no” on the state’s operating budget, and just four GOP senators voting “no” on the egregiously porcine capital budget. On the key tax and spending panel, here are the votes of GOP senators on the operating budget and here are their votes on the capital budget. No GOP senator voted “no” in the Budget and Taxation Committee on either budget bill. 

Our Maryland Republican state senators can do far better. 

Stay tuned for details on the budget bills.























Homeland Defense &Junk Science Richard Falknor on 02 Apr 2010

Flash Points 5: “Drilling for Votes” | Dar Al-Hijrah’s Invitees

“It also appears President Obama is caught in a contradiction: the President is, on the one hand, pushing forward with global warming policies to make fossil fuels more expensive, while on the other hand, he’s talking about drilling for more fossil fuels offshore.  How does the President square these two policies?” –
U. S. Senator James Inhofe

Wednesday the Obama Administration announced a “A Comprehensive Plan for Energy Security” – -

“And as part of that strategy, in addition to developing oil and gas resources in new areas, the Administration is moving forward on many fronts to boost domestic energy production, diversify America’s energy portfolio and promote clean energy innovation:

  • Landmark Car and Truck Fuel Standards: On April 1st, EPA and DOT will sign a joint final rule establishing greenhouse gas emission standards and corporate average fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles for model years 2012-2016. This measure is expected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program.”

National Review on Line (NRO) promptly posted some informed conservative insights on the president’s energy approach:

Ben Lieberman of Heritage: “Exploring for New Supplies of Votes“:

” . . . [A]llowing new leasing in selected offshore areas is no guarantee that actual drilling will occur. Administrative delays and environmental-group lawsuits still could delay production for years, or prevent it entirely. Bills like the No Cost Stimulus Act seek to streamline the red tape, but if the president doesn’t do the same, his proposal for more drilling will amount to little more than an empty promise. The fact that several of the areas in his announcement, including the Atlantic coast, could already be leased right now were it not for foot-dragging by the Obama Department of the Interior suggests the administration’s heart isn’t exactly in expanded offshore oil and gas production.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Governor Sarah Palin: “Stall, Baby, Stall”:

“I’ve got to call it like I see it: The administration’s sudden interest in offshore drilling is little more than political posturing designed to gain support for job-killing energy legislation soon to come down the pike.  I’m confident that GOP senators will not take the bait.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Utah Senator Bob Bennett: ‘They’re not serious about this’

“While the administration may act like it is moving to the political center on energy, Bennett says that ‘tucked away in the language of its policy are countless actions that make it all the more difficult’ for exploration. ‘Just look at what’s happening in Utah,’ he says. ‘I’m trying to push Secretary Salazar in our direction. He keeps telling us that the administration is interested in natural gas, yet there is always some regulatory or legal hang-up that’s cited to keep anything from moving forward. They’re not serious about this. They want to implement onerous regulations. Same goes for coastal exploration.’”

Will Yeatman quoted in Iain Murray’s:  “OCS Sleight of Hand”

“And while all the talking heads are chattering about Obama’s supposed pragmatism, the EPA will release today its final rule to allow California to regulate greenhouse gases from automobiles under the Clean Air Act. That’s the real story, because once a ‘pollutant’ (remember, we are talking about carbon dioxide, the stuff we exhale) is regulated under the Clean Air Act, it becomes subject to further and further regulation. The President will have the power (the obligation, according to well funded environmental lawyers) to regulate anything larger than a mansion — your small business, your office complex, your apartment building. Get ready for the green police.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

But said the governor of Virginia – -

“I thank the President and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar for ensuring Virginia will be the first state on the East Coast to explore for and produce energy offshore. The President’s decision to allow energy exploration off Virginia’s coast will mean thousands of new jobs, hundreds of millions in new state revenue and tens of billions of dollars in economic impact for the Commonwealth. It will also help our nation take a further step towards energy independence. Environmentally-safe offshore energy exploration and production is good for Virginia workers, the Virginia economy and national security. Just this session the General Assembly passed, with bipartisan support, legislation I requested to authorize offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling and to allocate 80% of revenues to transportation and 20% to green energy research and development.”

Tempering governor Bob McDonnell’s optimism, the Department of the Interior’s website stated – -

“Q6: Does the Administration’s announcement regarding the current 5-year program mean that the area off Virginia in the Mid-Atlantic OCS planning area will be opened for oil and gas development?

Not necessarily.  Offering the sale off of Virginia is only the first step in an orderly process that includes environmental reviews and analyses, regulatory compliance, exploration, testing and other considerations.  The announcement does not guarantee that that area will be leased, evaluated, explored and developed for oil and gas.  Secretary Salazar has said that the lease sale will depend on whether there is interest from industry, whether development can be done in an environmentally responsible manner, and whether development can be shown to not compromise critical military training in the Atlantic.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Maybe JunkScience-buster Steve Milloy should get the last word with his “The President’s Oil Drilling Bait-N-Switch”

“Last December, the Obama administration actually granted Shell Oil leases to drill three exploratory wells in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. But claiming a shoddy approval process, the leases are being challenged by green groups in the enviro-friendly 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Without wondering whether the Obama administration set Shell up for frustration, my money is on the greens in that venue. The lesson here is that the greens oppose, and will use every tactic possible on the local, state and federal level to prevent, offshore drilling, regardless of what emanates from the Oval Office.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

While some members of the Virginia political class may be taking comfort in a possible false dawn of off-shore drilling, Marylanders should remember all their legislators who voted here and here for the Clean Cars Act of 2007which allowed linking Maryland’s air-quality requirements to those of California, and which ensured that model 2011 cars sold in Maryland will be more expensive.

* * * * *

Saturday some Virginia politicians apparently want to lend their name to the Dar Al-Hijrah crowd.

National-security sentinel Frank Gaffney asked Tuesday in his post on BigGovernment “Will DNC Chair Tim Kaine and Congressmen Connolly and Moran Attend the Dar Al-Hijrah Fundraiser?”  – -

“On Saturday, April 3, the terrorist-linked Islamic Center Dar Al Hijrah in the Washington DC suburbs will hold their annual fundraising banquet.  The original flyer headlined  that seven elected officials were “invited”: former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, now Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Sen. James Webb (D-VA), Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova, Fairfax Supervisor Penny Gross, and Virginia State Delegate Kaye Kory. We thought that those elected officials would not want their names associated [with] Dar Al-Hijrah, long-known as an al-Qaeda linked Islamic center, on which we had posted at Biggovernment.com on February 14. So on February 17, we mailed and faxed a letter to each of the seven elected officials, alerting them to the invitation using their names, and asking them if they would remove their names as invitees. Within a few days, Senator James Webb and State Delegate Kaye Kory’s names were removed from the invitation.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Faithful readers will recall our related posts Controversial Imam To Open VA General Assembly Session and  “Getting” Jihad: Real Meat in A Non-Celebrity CPAC Panel.

Meanwhile, the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force (VAST)’s Jim Lafferty emailed the Forum - -

"A coalition of citizen groups including VAST, Act for America 
and the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC have organized 
Virginians to oppose the spread of radical Islam in Virginia.  A protest 
will be held at 5 p.m.,Saturday at the Fairview Park Marriott, 
3111 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church, VA 22042."








Junk Science &Team Obama Richard Falknor on 07 Dec 2009

Obama’s EPA Taking “Effective Control of the Economy”

Last September 3 here we wrote “Obama’s Green Statists Sneak in the Regulatory Back Door” suggesting that

“Here is yet another message to pass on to US Senators and Representatives of the president’s party in the remaining few days of the Congressional recess: ‘We’ll hold you accountable if you can’t keep the Obama White House from signing off on this intrusive, economy-hobbling greenhouse-gas rule.’”

Read our September post here for the details and the legal bramble-bush that were expected from an endangerment finding.

Today it is happening. Iain Murray on National Review on Line (NRO) in his “EPA Finding Gives It Effective Control of the Economy” explains the consequences of the Obama administration’s action.

“The EPA is about to announce that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare, something that has in many ways been inevitable since the boneheaded SCOTUS ruling in Mass. vs EPA (which essentially found that the Clean Air Act was always intended to be Kyoto-on-steroids.) With thanks to my colleague Will Yeatman, here’s a brief summary of what this means, and why you should be appalled.

Under the Clean Air Act, an ‘endangerment’ finding means that the EPA will have to grant a waiver to those states (such as California) that want to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from automobiles.The EPA has already agreed to do so. When ‘pollutants’ that ‘endanger’ human health and welfare are regulated, the EPA must expand its regulatory program to include ‘stationary’ sources. The EPA has already announced that it will do so.”

. . . . .

“The problem is that the president can’t get off the train where he wants. He simply can’t stop what he has started. Under the statutory language of the Clean Air Act, the regulation of mobile sources tripwires regulations for all stationary sources that emit more than 250 tons of a designated pollutant. For greenhouse gases, that’s pretty much everything larger than a Gore-sized mansion. These stationary sources would have to get a Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit for any significant modification, as would any new source. They would also have to get operating permits. The upshot is that millions of buildings would be subject to regulations. Small businesses will similarly be affected, as millions of businesses emit that amount of greenhouse gases. Fast-food franchises, apartment blocks, hospitals — you name it — will find themselves subject to EPA bureaucracy.”

. . . . .

“There’s only one remedy for this otherwise inevitable regulatory nightmare. The Congress must pass H. R. 391, legislation offered by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) that prohibits the EPA from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions.” (Underscoring Forum’s throughout.)

Today we should be honoring those who fought for us at Pearl Harbor 68 years ago. But lamentably this day we are seeing another kind of assault, this time by our own White House and its EPA and now the target is our entire home front:  jobs, businesses, property rights.

Make a list of those who supported this kind of economy-devastating approach by voting in the House for cap-and-tax. And also write down those who helped advance this approach by laying the state-level groundwork. See, for example, those who in the Maryland General Assembly supported the paths to green statism.

Junk Science &Team Obama Richard Falknor on 03 Sep 2009

Obama’s Green Statists Sneak in the Regulatory Back Door

Not that we don’t have enough on our plate with Obamacare, “diversity” czars at the Federal Communications Commission, and an ever more shaky national-security posture.

But our friends at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) tell us here in their “EPA Proposes ‘Illegal’ Clean Air Rule” that last Tuesday – -

“The Environmental Protection Agency has sent a proposed rule to the White House that would allow regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, but restrict the scope to only very large industrial sources. This proposal, issued under the Clean Air Act, violates the language of the statute and effectively amounts to the EPA usurping the role of Congress . . . .

‘EPA is proposing an illegal rule,’ said Marlo Lewis, CEI Senior Fellow. ‘They are presuming – on their own authority – to amend the Clean Air Act. It turns out that CEI was correct all along – that EPA cannot regulate carbon dioxide without grave risks to the U.S. economy unless it plays lawmaker and amends the Clean Air Act, which is a clear violation of the separation of powers.’ (Underscoring Forum‘s.)

As CEI’s Lewis had declared last June 15 – -

“An endangerment finding will trigger a regulatory cascade with potentially devastating economic impacts that Congress never intended or approved when it enacted §202. Regulatory litigation rather than legislative deliberation will determine the direction of public policy and the extent of the burdens imposed on the private sector, vitiating our democratic system. We could end up with a Mega-Kyoto system without the people’s elected representatives ever casting a vote. Moreover, the only way EPA can regulate greenhouse gases under the CAA [Clean Air Act] without risk of administrative chaos and economic disaster is to flout statutory language, play lawmaker, and effectively ‘amend’ the statute, violating the separation of powers.(Underscoring Forum‘s.)

The indefatigable Climate Depot points us to today’s WSJ “Terms of ‘Endangerment’: The EPA’s anti-carbon rule is an admission that CO2 limits hurt the economy.”

Here is the crucial warning from the Journal‘s editors – -

“But even businesses that do get a pass shouldn’t rest too easily. The green lobby will quickly sue to force the EPA to enforce fully its own rules and go after all carbon sources. And why not? The Obama Administration is deliberately flouting its own legal claims for political reasons. Its cynical political hope is that if Congress won’t impose cap and tax, the courts will do it anyway.”

Here is yet another message to pass on to US Senators and Representatives of the president’s party in the remaining few days of the Congressional recess: “We’ll hold you accountable if you can’t keep the Obama White House from signing off on this intrusive, economy-hobbling greenhouse-gas rule.”



Fiscal Policy &Junk Science &Team Obama Richard Falknor on 09 Aug 2009

Our Homes, Our Cars: Obama’s Many Plans for Our Lives

The Heritage Foundation’s Ron Utt has been a vigilant sentinel against all manner of governmental schemes — from both parties — to abridge our property rights, and to burden us with costly, ill-advised “transportation” schemes.

For example, Dr. Utt closely shadowed the infamous Hallowed Ground legislation here and here, which touches large swaths of Maryland and Virginia.

And he kept a spotlight on the “Dulles Rail Boondoggle” here.

Just last month, Heritage published his “Obama Administration’s Plan to Coerce People out of Their Cars.”

This Web Memo here reveals – -

“Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood remarked in May that his livability initiative . . .”is a way to coerce people out of their cars.”. . . When asked if this was government intrusion into people’s lives, LaHood responded that ‘about everything we do around here is government intrusion in people’s lives,’ a sentiment that would have certainly surprised the authors of the United States Constitution, a document whose major purpose was to restrain government.

LaHood’s endorsement of government coercion comes as no surprise to those who have been tracking the Obama Administration’s incremental endorsements of the environmentalists’ smart growth strategies to slow growth, crowd development, and deter automobile use. And with LaHood’s most recent presentation, the Administration has formally embarked on an unprecedented and costly exercise in social engineering to alter the way Americans live and travel.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Readers are encouraged to digest all of this important document.

According to CNS News here – -

“Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who said in May that he wanted to use federal policy to ‘coerce’ people out of their cars, told CNSNews.com on Friday that what he really meant to say is that he wants to use federal policy to ‘lure’ people out of their cars.

At a May 21 event at the National Press Club, LaHood responded to a piece in Newsweek [link added by Forum] written by columnist George Will, which quoted LaHood as saying, ‘I think we can change people’s behavior,’ and mocked him as the ‘Secretary of Behavior Modification.’”

Secretary LaHood served in the Illinois House of Representatives, then in the U. S. House of Representatives as a Republican.  The Club for Growth gave Republican LaHood a rating of 0% in their 2007 RePORK Card. By way of contrast, Democrat Barney Frank earned 6%. Indiana Republican Mike Pence earned 100 %.

Sums up analyst Utt:  “Is It Safe to Let LaHood Think Outside the Box?”

Freedom to Choose Where You Live, Work, and Travel

On June 2, Virginian Utt also reported in hisSlouching Toward a ‘Huddled Masses’ Housing Policy: Saving Energy with Higher Densities?” here that – -

“One option for the reduction in energy use that has come to the attention of the U.S. Department of Energy is to pack more people into smaller apartments–a prospect more akin to living standards in Calcutta. . . . Perhaps this Carteresque austerity trend will encourage the Environmental Protection Agency to declare that if Americans weren’t so fussy about personal hygiene, vast volumes of fresh water could be saved.”

Later that month, we noted here other experts weighing in on these concerns:

 “Declares National Review on Line (NRO)’s John Hood “Leave Room for You and Me to Grow” here – -

‘Reason Foundation scholar Sam Staley is following these issues closely, as are Randal O’Toole at the Cato Institute and scores of think tankers at the state level (visit their trade association, the State Policy Network, here and click on your state for more information). You should be follow[ing] these issues closely, too, if you value the right to choose where you want to live, how you will house your family, and what means of travel you will use to commute, shop, and recreate.’” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

As Ron Utt concluded in his June 2 Backgrounder – -

“If President Obama and his subordinates are to be believed, this Administration is promising to impose unprecedented (‘transformational’) changes on the way Americans live, work, and travel in order to achieve a variety of environmental goals.”  (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Understandably, the attention of Maryland and Virginia citizens is riveted on the Obamacare Crisis. But as we move down the road, we need to be working on other urgent Tea Party material — on likely Federal intrusion into “the way Americans live, work, and travel.” Since current and proposed transportation tax burdens as well as a disregard of property rights have already come from both parties, we need  to discuss these concerns with all our Representatives and Senators before they stumble into supporting Obama “smart growth” schemes.















Fiscal Policy &Junk Science Richard Falknor on 06 Jul 2009

A Clear and Present Danger: Cap and Tax in the Senate

“When Nancy Pelosi was advising congressmen to back this beast, she said they should not worry about the words of the bill they had not read, but think about four others: ‘jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.’ The legislation offers Pelosi perverse vindication: Waxman-Markey will create a lot of jobs for Wall Street sharps, Big Business rent-seekers, ACORN hucksters, utility-company lobbyists, grant-writers at left-wing organizations, college administrators, light-bulb-policing bureaucrats, and an army of parasitic hangers-on. It’s up to the Senate to stop it.” Stephen Spruiell and Kevin Williamson

Conservatives in Maryland and Virginia, along with their brothers and sisters in the other states, have a variety of big-government and liberty-menacing and defense-weakening challenges — staring them in the face. And let’s not mince words.  These are all serious threats to our lives today.

But as Michelle Malkin writes here today in her “Back to business: Stop the cap-and-tax bill” – -

    “Which senators to target? Here:

[From today's Los Angeles Times]‘Democrats and the two independents who caucus with them control 60 Senate seats. But more than a dozen have expressed concern over costs. They include Democrats from industry-heavy Ohio and Michigan, coal-dependent Indiana and oil-rich Louisiana.

Only a few Republicans appear open to emissions limits, notably two moderates from Maine — Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe — and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who championed emissions limits in his presidential campaign (though he has expressed reservations about the House bill).

The Senate bill will emerge from several committees — including the finance, foreign relations, commerce and agriculture committees — with dramatically different memberships and priorities.

The energy committee already has approved its chunk with wide bipartisan support. It includes a requirement to produce more electricity from renewable sources, but also expands drilling — a possible deal-breaker for environmentalists.

Boxer’s committee will center its work on cap and trade. The House bill would cut U.S. emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83% by 2050. Environmentalists expect Boxer, who said she was ‘looking closely’ at those limits, to strengthen them.’”

National Review’s Stephen Spruiell and Kevin Williamson explain here in “A Garden of Piggish Delights”–

“Two main things to understand about Waxman-Markey: First, it will not reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, at least not at any point in the near future. The inclusion of carbon offsets, which can be manufactured out of thin air and political imagination, will eliminate most of the demands that the legislation puts on industry, though in doing so it will manage to drive up the prices consumers pay for every product that requires energy for its manufacture — which is to say, for everything. Second, it represents a worse abuse of the public trust and purse than the stimulus and the bailouts put together. Waxman-Markey creates a permanent new regime in which environmental romanticism and corporate welfare are mixed together to form political poison. From comic bureaucratic power grabs (check out the section of the bill on candelabras) to the creation of new welfare programs for Democratic constituencies to, above all, massive giveaways for every financial, industrial, and political lobby imaginable, this bill would permanently deform American politics and economic life.(Underscoring Forum’s.)

The two authors go on to list their “top 50″ flaws in the measure.

Conservatives should read the entire list.

Our sense of last week’s Tea Parties is that the participants were quite angry about the cap-and-tax bill that barely passed the House.

Tea Party veterans, however, now need to take in the magnitude of the liberty and economic costs of Waxman-Markey, and the urgency of stopping the measure.

The Obama Railroad needs to be halted before it again rolls over the Congress — undermining future effective opposition.  Stopping cap and tax will make it easier to stop government-medicine proposals which are right down the road.

If we are going to block cap and tax, however, all of us Tea Parties veterans will need to get on top of the measure’s essentials. We will need to get the frightening details of Waxman-Markey to voters outside own circle. And, in addition to telephoning, faxing, emailing, and sending letters, we will need to visit, preferably in groups, the local offices of first our United States Senators — and then of our Representatives.











Fiscal Policy &Junk Science &Tea Parties Richard Falknor on 03 Jul 2009

Virginia Tea-Party Topics: McDonnell’s “Green Jobs Zone”

The center-right nationally is properly outraged by the taxes and false promises of the Waxman-Markey bill which barely passed the House last Friday.

And Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell had commendably denounced the measure – - calling it a “job killer.”

“‘It would hurt Virginia’s competitiveness in the world economy, raise our electricity rates and have a direct impact on every Virginia citizen. It’s a job-killer,’ McDonnell said in a statement. ‘The…legislation under consideration is exactly the wrong approach to take. It is a heavy-handed big government approach based on ideology, not science.’”

Yet the former Attorney General has been proposing his own “green jobs zone” here’

Favored-Business Friendly — or Taxpayer Friendly?

The respected Beacon Hill Institute last week went to the heart of the matter in “Green Jobs a Cost, Not Benefit, to the National Economy”

“If the green job is a net benefit it has to be because the value the job produces for consumers is greater than the cost of performing the job. This argument is never made in any of these three green jobs studies.”

The Chilling Effect has written a useful guide entitled “7 Green Jobs Myths”

“By promoting more jobs instead of more productivity, the green jobs described in the literature actually encourage low-paying jobs in less desirable conditions. Economic growth cannot be ordered by Congress or by the United Nations. Government interference in the economy – such as restricting further progress with already successful technologies in favor of speculative technologies favored by special interests – will generate stagnation.”

Read the entire guide here.

So perhaps Bob McDonnell could explain, in free-market terms, the economics of his “green jobs zone” proposal here and how it will help Virginia taxpayers, and independent Virginia businesses across the board? 

Does anyone believe that such a program, once enacted, would not continue to grow? And not link into similar Obama Administration subsidies?

“We will make Virginia a green jobs zone to encourage green energy entrepreneurs to protect our environment, while creating good jobs.(Underscoring Forum’s throughout.)

Let’s use our Tea Parties to urge candidate McDonnell to come to a better mind by rethinking his “green jobs zone” proposal.

One would hate to believe the “green jobs zone” was, to use McDonnell’s own words, “based on ideology, not science.”















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