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Chris Prandoni

Senate Committee Report Details Environmentalists' Inner Workings

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Posted by Chris Prandoni on Thursday, July 31st, 2014, 11:35 AM PERMALINK


This story was originally posted on Forbes.com.

Over the past fifty years, America’s environmental movement has grown from college kids adorning flowers to a billion dollar industry. With huge budgets to employ lobbyists, lawyers, and public relations professionals, many of America’s leading environmental non-profits are unrecognizable from their modest beginnings. What may seem like an organic, disparate movement is actually a well oiled machine that receives its funding from a handful of super rich liberal donors operating behind the anonymity of foundations and charities, according to a new report out today by the Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW).

The EPW report titled The Chain of Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPAmeticulously details how the “Billionaires’ Club” funds nearly all of the major environmental non-government organizations (NGO), many media outlets, and supposed grassroots activists. The Billionaire Report continues by describing the cozy relationship many environmental groups have with the executive branch and the revolving door that makes this possible.

The most striking aspect of the Billionaire Report is the sheer amount of money that is in play. In 2011 alone, ten foundations donated upwards of half a billion dollars to environmental causes. Many of these foundations, whose assets are valued in the billions, meet and coordinate under the framework provided by the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA). Described as the “funding epicenter of the environmental movement,” EGA members doled out $1.13 billion to environmental causes in 2011. EGA’s membership is not public but its clout is self-evident given the amount of money its members direct to recognizable environmental NGOs.

Often times, EGA members will elect to indirectly fund organizations that are the face of the environmental movement. For example, instead of directly cutting a check to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) or the Sierra Club, the Hewlett Foundation or the Packard Foundation will contribute to the Energy Foundation. The Billionaire Report describes the Energy Foundation as “a pass through charity utilized by the most powerful EGA members to create the appearance of a more diversified base of support, to shield them from accountability, and to leverage limited resources by hiring dedicated energy/environment staff to handle strategic giving.”

Visit Forbes.com to find out more about how the far-left environmental movement is funded.

This story was originally posted on Forbes.com.

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EPWChairBoxer

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PennState93

The latest for global warming scientist is now global extinction of animals. Scientist continue to find new ways or scares to get more government funding.

Remember, in the 1970's it was global freezing.

Rednecksrule

That's great Norquist, but how about the inner workings of the lobbyists who work for cheap labor corporations that want to turn the US into a third world country? Did you all know that the visas and amnesties that Grovie here supports would enable the entire populations of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to come the the US? You do know that your, not Grover's corporation's tax dollars will be paying for all that poverty come to roost in the US, right?


ATR Endorses Sen. Toomey's Highway Amendment to Help Rebuild Disaster Areas

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Posted by Chris Prandoni on Friday, July 18th, 2014, 4:02 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) endorses Sen. Toomey’s highway amendment (S. amdt. 3564) that streamlines the construction of bridges, roads, and highways that were damaged during disasters. All too often, byzantine environmental laws unnecessarily delay repairs to essential infrastructure. The Toomey amendment allows roads, highways, and bridges to bypass a number duplicative regulations and permitting requirements so long as they are rebuilt with identical characteristics (capacity, dimension, and design).

Speaking in support of the Toomey amendment, ATR president Grover Norquist said “complicated regulations not only increase the cost of infrastructure projects but delay their construction. Sen. Toomey should be applauded for remedying both of these problems when Americans have the least amount of patience for either — after disasters. If Congress is going to have any chance at reforming the highway trust fund, we’ll need more solutions like this one.”

Photo Credit: 
John Lloyd

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EPA's Latest Carbon Rule Looks to Crush Coal Industry, Kill Jobs, and Threaten Affordable Energy

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Posted by Chris Prandoni on Monday, June 2nd, 2014, 4:49 PM PERMALINK


In its latest move in the war on coal, President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would regulate carbon (CO2) from existing power plants. This unnecessary and expensive regulation will have dire consequence for the American economy, especially when it is paired with existing and pending EPA regulations.

A series of prior regulations will force over 300 coal-fired power plants to close down. More specifically, seven of the EPA’s final or pending regulations are projected to cost the economy more than $60 billion per year in lost GDP and to cause the annual loss of nearly 900,000 jobs.

But these regulations don’t only impact coal miners and heavy manufacturers that depend on coal for affordable electricity. When Americans were freezing and grid operators were stretched thin, many relied on coal-fired power to keep their lights on. In early January, around 75 percent of Southern Company’s coal power plants scheduled to retire were called upon to generate electricity. The Tennessee Valley Authority set new records for electricity demand at the same time that nearly 20 of its coal-fired generating facilities are scheduled for retirement.

The EPA is trying to justify its economic damage and threats to affordable base-load electricity through spurious co-benefit claims about reductions in instances of asthma and heart attacks. In reality, reducing carbon does not prevent asthma or heart attacks, after all, we exhale it every few seconds.

What we do know is that being unemployed can have serious effects on a person’s health. On June 15, 2011, Dr. Harvey Brenner of Johns Hopkins University testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee:

“The unemployment rate is well established as a risk factor for elevated illness and mortality rates in epidemiological studies performed since the early 1980s. In addition to influences on mental disorder, suicide and alcohol abuse and alcoholism, unemployment is also an important risk factor in cardiovascular disease and overall decreases in life expectancy.”

These negative consequences can spill over into the quality of life for poor children as the National Center for Health Statistics noted:

Children in poor families were four times as likely to be in fair or poor health as children in families that were not poor.

One of the best ways to help Americans is to ensure that they have a job. ATR will have much more to come on the mechanics and problems with this regulation, but until then, we’ll close with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) comments, “The president promised under his plan, electricity rates would 'necessarily skyrocket,' and this is one promise he is actually delivering on. Four years after a Democratic Senate rejected cap-and-trade, the administration continues its pursuit to regulate where Congress refused to legislate. As the American economy shrunk last quarter, why in the world is the president pushing regulations that will serve to increase utility rates for consumers, send manufacturing jobs overseas, and hamstring our economic recovery? And despite the president’s focus on income inequality, this is a plan to make the poor poorer as it is the nation’s most vulnerable who suffer the most from higher energy prices and layoffs.”

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Buck Carson

We aim to crush big government, it's morbidly obese footprint, and give all these folks that spent their lives pushing inanity a fresh exposure to the coldness of reality.

Called tough love.

We aim to crush big government, like coal, and incinerate.


SB 310 Moves to Gov. Kasich’s Desk

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Posted by Chris Prandoni on Thursday, May 29th, 2014, 2:40 PM PERMALINK


Yesterday, Ohio’s House of Representatives followed the Senate’s lead and passed SB 310, legislation to pause the state’s expensive electricity mandates. Ohio residents have spent the past six years living under two renewable energy mandates: one that requires a percentage of the state’s electricity to come from more expensive renewable sources (Renewable Portfolio Standards) and another that requires Ohio’s citizens to use less electricity.

While over 29 states and the District of Colombia have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), the two-year pause contained within SB 310 is the first time a state has successfully passed legislation reexamining this dubious policy. Just as Ohio is considered a bellwether on election night, so too will SB 310 be replicated by other states. This historic moment will be the first of many as RPS mandates ramp up and customers begin to feel their full weight.

Ohio, U.S.A.In addition to the two-year RPS pause, SB 310 also pauses the forced electricity reduction mandate that is financed by monthly customer surcharges. SB 310 comes in the nick of time as utilities were being forced to increase customer surcharges by huge percentages.

SB 310 will also create a commission to, once and for all, study the effects of these electricity mandates. The legislation contains other measures that mitigate the efficiency mandate and ensure that the law does not violate the Commerce Clause.

If you live in Ohio, make sure your representatives and the governor’s office hear from you.

Click here to see how your Senator voted.
Click here to see how your Representative voted.

If you want to learn a little bit more about SB 310 and the electricity mandates it mitigates, check out the below links.

Ohio’s Electricity Reduction Mandate Burdens Residents and Businesses
Repeal Ohio’s Electricity Reduction Mandate
Ohio Moves to Rollback Costly Green Energy Mandates
Ohio Utility To Increase 'Efficiency' Surcharge By 390 Percent

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Steve Grant https://www.flickr.com/people/patentboy/

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ATR Urges Senators to Oppose the Motion to End Debate on the Shaheen-Portman Energy Bill


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Friday, May 9th, 2014, 11:15 AM PERMALINK


Harry Reid - The Scream

Harry Reid - The Scream (Photo credit: absentee_redstate)

Today, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist sent the below letter to the Senate urging Republicans to oppose the motion to end debate on the so-called Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill. Once again, Harry Reid has disallowed Republican amendments by "filling the tree." this is unacceptable.

From the letter:

Democrat political maneuvering has obfuscated the Party’s anti-energy policies in an attempt to fool voters come November. Senate Republicans must fight back against the subversive tactics employed by Majority Leader Reid.

Sen. Reid killed the Shaheen-Portman bill, not Senate Republicans.

America is at an energy crossroads. The shale revolution has unlocked previously unthinkable amounts of oil and natural gas. The EPA is writing unprecedented new regulations for power plants, gasoline content, and state emission content. The White House scuttled the Keystone Pipeline. Oil and natural gas production is down on federal lands. Federal laws prohibit the export of crude oil and inhibit liquefied natural gas exports.

Click here to view the full letter.

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Obama Budget Proposes $100 Billion in Tax Hikes on Energy Producers

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Posted by Chris Prandoni on Tuesday, March 4th, 2014, 1:41 PM PERMALINK


Obama Energy Tax Proposals

The President’s FY 2015 budget contains billions in tax increase on energy production and consumption. These taxes will result in higher prices at the pump, increased utility bills, and fewer American jobs as companies flee the U.S. and companies cannot recover their investments. Below is a breakdown of energy taxes Obama put forth in his 2015-2024 budget:

Tax Increase

FY 2015

FY 2015-2024

 Industry Impact

Increase Amortization Period for G&G

$100 million

$3.1   billion

$3.1 billion

Double-taxing Dual-Capacity taxpayers

$550 million

$10.4 billion

$10.4 billion

Repeal Percentage Depletion:

  • Oil and Natural Gas
  • Hard Minerals

 

$1 billion
$167 million

 

$13 billion
$2 billion

 

$13 billion
$2 billion

Repeal Intangible Drilling & Expensing of Exploration Cost for Coal

  • Oil and Natural Gas
  • Hard Mineral

 

 

 

$2.3 billion
$39 million

 

 

 

$14.4   billion
$680 million

 

 

 

$14.4 billion
$680 million

Section 199

  • Oil and Natural Gas
  • Hard Mineral

 

$1 billion
$36 million

 

$14.2 billion
$726 million

 

$14.2 billion
$726 million

Repeal Tertiary Injectants

$10 million

$100 million

$ 100 million

Reinstate Superfund barrel of oil excise tax

$1.6 billion

$23.2  billion

$ 11.6 billion

Retroactively repeal LIFO accounting

$4 billion

$82 billion

$29 billion

Repeal Passive Loss

$7 million

$74 million

$74 million

Ratchet up Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund tax

$60 million

$1 billion

$1 billion

That’s an energy tax increase of nearly $100 billion by 2024!

ATR Recommendation

Allow all employers to deduct all of their business expenses in the year they are incurred. In the same budget President Obama argues for full business expensing for small businesses, he looks to lengthen – or eliminate entirely – cost recovery mechanisms for America’s energy producers. This sort of duplicity is not only inequitable, but hamstrings the American economy.

Investment is essential to economic growth. The easiest and fairest way to ensure businesses spend money is to allow them to recoup their expenditures immediately, not depreciate or amortize expenses over arbitrary periods of time. Needlessly tying up capital in strange depreciation tables only exacerbates our current economic morass; yet, this is exactly what President Obama is advocating.

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Did an EPA Report Just Kill 30,000 Jobs?


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Monday, February 3rd, 2014, 9:24 AM PERMALINK


Conservatives looking to affirm the old adage that regulatory uncertainty kills jobs have new evidence: the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 10 Bristol Bay, Alaska Mining Assessment. So powerful is the EPA that an obscure report can threaten 30,000 jobs and a billion dollar mining project.

The Bristol Bay Assessment

Released last week, the Bristol Bay Assessment pours cold water on the prospective Alaskan Pebble Mine, a uniquely large deposit of copper and gold valued at $30 billion. In order to develop the world’s largest untouched copper cache, the Pebble Mine’s prospectors need to apply for and receive numerous permits from federal and state agencies. One requisite authorization is the Clean Water Act’s 404(c) permit issued by the Army Corp of Engineers but codified by the EPA.

A variety of interest groups, from national environmentalists to commercial fishers, have urged the EPA to kill the Pebble Mine by pre-emptively denying the necessary 404(c) permit. These groups do not want the EPA to review the years of water, soil, and environmental data collected by the Pebble Mine’s developers – no debate, no discussion, end the application process before it begins. There are real concerns about the Pebble Mine’s environmental impact, especially on the local salmon population, but the far left’s unconditional “Stop Pebble” mantra reveals their fear of discussion.

Sounding a dog whistle, the EPA signaled their disapproval of the project through a series of extra-regulatory reports on the area surrounding the Pebble Mine site. In April of 2013, the EPA released a revised draft assessment of the Bristol Bay watershed. The game was rigged from the start – EPA used anti-mining organizations like Earthworks as peer-reviewers.

Assumptions Made By The EPA Report

The report also made a number of strange assumptions about mitigation plans that run contrary to standard Alaskan practices. Unsurprisingly, these assumptions led the EPA to conclude that it would be nearly impossible for anyone to build an environmentally safe mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska...

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4 Reasons the State Department Thinks Obama Should Approve the Keystone Pipeline


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Friday, January 31st, 2014, 4:41 PM PERMALINK


Today the State Department released yet another Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) about the Keystone XL Pipeline. The definition of a bureaucratic nightmare, TransCanada has been trying to build the Keystone Pipeline for over 5 years.

Go to www.approvethepipeline.com  to tell President Obama to stop blocking 40,000 jobs

Now that the State Department has released its generally positive assessment of the project, Obama should stop sitting on his hands and approve it. Here are three quotes from the EIS highlighting exactly why Obama should approve the pipeline.

Jobs are good

"During construction, proposed Project spending would support approximately 42,100 jobs (direct, indirect, and induced), and approximately $2 billion in earnings throughout the United States.”

Canada will develop its oil reserves with or without the Keystone pipeline. The only question is, will the U.S. refine the oil, or will China?

"[A]pproval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed Project, remains unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands, or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the U.S.”

The world will continue to run on oil:

“The dominant drivers of oil sands development are more global than any single infrastructure project. Oil sands production and investment could slow or accelerate depending on oil price trends, regulations, and technological developments, but the potential effects of those factors on the industry’s rate of expansion should not be conflated with the more limited effects of individual pipelines.”

And lastly, that blocking or approving the Keystone XL pipeline would not have a "significant" impact on overall greenhouse-gas emissions and future tar-sands expansions.

Click here to tell Obama to approve the Keystone Pipeline.

 

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Rep. Valadao's Legislation Puts Families Before Bait Fish


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Friday, January 31st, 2014, 2:51 PM PERMALINK


Rep. Valadao(R-CA) is sponsoring a bill in the House that brings water to Cali's drought-stricken Central Valley over objections it may kill a bait fish.

The House is currently reviewing a bill that would restore water to tens of thousands of farmers in California. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act, H.R. 3964, amends previous legislation in an effort to restore water to California’s Central Valley which drought has cost millions of acres of crops to perish, along with jobs and people’s livelihoods.

California’s Central Valley has been receiving water from the Central Valley Project, a collection of canals, reservoirs, pumps and dams, since 1933. The CVP resulted in development of major cities such as Fresno, and Sacramento. The Valley is one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, producing 8 percent of the nation’s agrarian output on less than 1 percent of farmland in the U.S.

The Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) of 1992 has changed this. Concerned about fish and wildlife habitats, the bill shut restricted water to parts the San Joaquin Valley and established restoration funds for the ecosystem. The result has been severe drought, and a collapse of the farming industry in the Valley. The area is currently one of the most impoverished in the nation. Furthermore the aims CVPIA took for environmental restoration have been unsuccessful. Twenty years and billions of dollars later, less than half of the restoration projects have been completed. A review of CVPIA by the OMB has shown that fish populations have either stayed the same or declined since 1992.

Sponsored by Rep. David Valadao, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Actseeks to renew and expedite long-term water contracts for the Central Valley Project. The legislation also demands more accountability from the Secretary of the Interior regarding the issue, as well as transparency for the restoration program and its expenditures. The bill is nonetheless environment-conscious, considering all requirements instituted by the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

It is clear this bill will not only quench the drought-stricken farmers of California’s Central Valley, bringing back thousands of jobs, but it will also help reduce the ever increasing grocery costs that consumers are experiencing across the nation. With little change in population trends for endangered fish in the area, it is evident that turning on the water pumps will only affect those struggling families whom have been growing American produce for almost a century.

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Carper-Coburn Postal Bill S.1486 Props-up Broken USPS


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Monday, January 27th, 2014, 10:55 AM PERMALINK


With the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) $5 billion deficit driving Congressional action, Sens. Carper and Coburn have put forth a bill that protects a bloated union workforce and paves the way for consumer rate increases.

Rightsizing the workforce
Compared to the private sector, about 80 percent of the Post Office’s costs are labor related, while FedEx and UPS spend 20-40 percent less. For years the USPS has acknowledged its excess capacity, yet S. 1486 delays necessary attrition by placing a two-year moratorium on any further plant closures.

Overpaid workers
USPS employees are paid far above expected market rates: 34% more than their private sector counterparts. The average annual compensation (including benefits) of a postal employee is well in excess of $80,000. While S. 1486 allows the Postal Service to establish a new retirement plan for new employees, the legislation does little to address inflated employee wages. It is the combination of too many employees that are paid too much that is dragging USPS into the red. The solution to USPS’s self-identified problems is to address these labor issues head-on, not look for more revenue through rate increases.

Raising rates
Unable to save enough money through necessary cuts, the USPS will be forced to raise postal rates. S. 1486 changes and then permits complete elimination of the CPI based annual cap on postal rates. Without such a cap, USPS will have little incentive to reduce its workforce and rein in its costs. Instead of duking it out with the union, the USPS will likely raise rates on consumers. Ultimately, increasing postal service rates forces customers to prop-up the continued inefficient operations of the postal service.

Rate increases would only cause more customers to flee the mail system and could exacerbate the USPS’s most obvious problem – mail volume dropped by 25 percent from 2006 to 2013, from 213 billion pieces of mail a year to 158 billion pieces of mail a year. The legislation then permits the Postal Service to usurp rate-setting responsibilities from the independent oversight of the Postal Regulatory Commission to the USPS Board of Governors, the same entity that has overseen billion dollar losses year after year. ATR supports efforts to remove the problematic provisions on postal rates from the bill.

Essential services
Instead of addressing its labor-induced problems, in the past USPS has attempted to offer consumers services outside its core competency of mail delivery. These forays into other services have consistently ended poorly.  A conservative postal bill should prohibit the Postal Service from venturing into new non-postal areas for which it has no expertise or legitimacy.

Conclusion
The USPS has acknowledged that its problems lay in its excess capacity, including workforce and facilities. While S. 1486 takes some steps to address healthcare costs for USPS employees – no small achievement – it does not do enough to fix USPS’s unnecessary overhead. Burdening ratepayers with USPS’s labor costs is not only unfair, but could undermine the entire system by driving more users out of it.

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