Chris Prandoni

Center-right Groups Urge Congress to Oppose EPA's GHG Regulation


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Tuesday, July 17th, 2012, 10:17 AM PERMALINK


Conservative groups urge Congress to oppose the EPA's onerous GHG regulation--a rule which would effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

Click here for a PDF version of the below letter or here for further insights from CEI's Marlo Lewis.


July 16, 2012

Dear Representative
 
On behalf of the millions of members and followers of our organizations, we urge you to oppose the EPA’s new greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions regulation for coal power plants.
 
Requiring new fossil-fuel plants to achieve emissions standards that only natural gas power plants can meet, the EPA’s proposal will effectively ban construction of new coal-fired power plants. While hundreds of thousands of Americans are directly and indirectly employed by the coal industry, tens of millions of Americans enjoy the affordable and reliable energy produced by coal-fired power plants.
 
Twisting the Clean Air Act to achieve its partisan ends, Obama’s EPA is utilizing the arcane law in ways its authors never intended. Congress never authorized the EPA to ban the construction of coal-fired power plants; the EPA is appropriating powers never bestowed to it.
 
The result of the EPA’s power grab will be increased energy prices and fewer jobs as American companies and families are forced to pay higher electricity bills.
 
That cheap coal power is in jeopardy should come as no surprise. In 2008, then Candidate Obama publicized his true intentions saying that, “if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them.” Indeed, the EPA’s new GHG rule is the culmination of Obama’s promise “to make electricity rates skyrocket” under his Administration.
 
Distorting America’s energy market by prohibiting the construction of coal power plants will unnecessarily cause the cost of electricity to increase for nearly every American. It is for these reasons we urge you to oppose the EPA’s new GHG regulation.
 
Sincerely,

Americans for Tax Reform                                                                       
Let Freedom Ring
RightMarch.com
Less Government
Liberty Guard
FreedomWorks
American Commitment
Tea Party WDC
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
National Center for Public Policy Research
Small Business & Entrepreneurship council
Frontiers of Freedom
Center for Individual Freedom
Americans for Prosperity
Institute for Liberty
Taxpayer Protection Alliance

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Obama's bogus 5-year drilling plan


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Friday, June 29th, 2012, 12:00 PM PERMALINK


Earlier this week, the Department of the Interior released its expected disappointing 5-year lease plan.

A graphic from the good people of the House Natural Resources Committee tells you all you need to know about Obama's lease (or lack thereof) plan. This from their website:

Offshore Areas Open for Drilling when President Obama Took Office

Click to enlarge image

Offshore Areas Blocked for Drilling under President Obama's
Final 2012-2017 Plan

Click to enlarge image

Enough said.

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Will the EPA ban coal-fired power?


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Thursday, June 28th, 2012, 11:15 AM PERMALINK


The EPA has announced a proposed rule called the Carbon Pollution Standard. While sounding innocuous, the new regulation would effectively ban construction of new coal-fired power plants. Requiring emissions to be so low that “no existing coal power plants come close; even the most efficient,” new power generation is likely to come from natural gas power plants.

Back in March of 2011, the EPA said they wouldn’t be forcing anyone to switch from coal to natural gas, but with this new rule, they have accomplished their long term goal of making coal extinct. In 2008, a candid candidate Obama said that “if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them…” Since coming into office, President Obama and his radical EPA have been trying to eliminate out coal fired plants with regulations like the Utility-MACT.

CEI’s Marlo Lewis explains how the EPA deems natural gas to be an appropriate power source but effectivley bans coal-fired power.

The Carbon Pollution Standard may be among the weirdest regulations ever proposed. This dubious distinction is no doubt related to the fact that the EPA is attempting to regulate GHGs through a statute neither designed nor intended for that purpose. The proposal is bizarre in at least five ways.

(1)    The EPA classifies natural gas combined cycle — a type of power plant — as a “control option” or “system of emission reduction” for coal-fired power plants.

The EPA picked 1,000 lbs CO2/MWh as the “standard of performance” for new fossil-fuel EGUs because that is the “degree of emission limitation achievable through natural gas combined cycle generation.”20 But consider how the CAA defines “standard of performance” *CAA § 111(a)(1)]:

The term “standard of performance” means a standard for emissions of air pollutants which reflects the degree of emission limitation achievable through the application of the best system of emission reduction which (taking into account the cost of achieving such reduction and any non-air quality health and environmental impact and energy requirements) the Administrator determines has been adequately demonstrated.21

Performance standards are supposed to reflect the best “system of emission reduction.” But natural gas combined cycle is not a system of emission reduction. It is a type of power plant. EPA is not proposing that new coal power plants install emission reduction systems that have been “adequately demonstrated.” Rather, EPA is proposing that new coal power plants be new natural gas plants.

The Carbon Pollution Standard is another market distorting regulation that will inevitably increase natural gas consumption, causing the price of the fuel to rise. While America is endowed with enormous natural gas reserves, we have even more coal. It would be wise to develop and utilize both resources, if only the EPA would let us.
 

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Vote YES on Rubio's RAISE ACT Amendment #2166


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Tuesday, June 19th, 2012, 5:26 PM PERMALINK


Link to full PDF of Letter

Teamsters President James Hoffa said it best in his vote alert urging Senators to oppose the RAISE Act “which seeks to allow employers to grant wage increases unilaterally to workers of their choosing.” That’s the point—employers should be allowed to give their unionized employees monetary compensation for increased productivity. 

Unfortunately, current law governing collective bargaining agreements requires employers to first seek union-approval before “granting wage increases.” Simply giving a unionized employee an individual bonus constitutes “direct dealing” and is illegal. The RAISE Act would remove this anti-worker wage cap and allow employers to pay their unionized employees more. 

Most union collective bargaining agreements allot raises or bonuses on the premise of tenure or seniority, not on merit. Under this system, workers are beholden to the union for increased compensation. The RAISE Act empowers workers by allowing for fair wage increases and ensures that all employees have an equal opportunity to earn raises.

Allow unionized employees to earn more money, vote YES on Amendment #2166


Alexander-Pryor Introduce EPA Cover Bill


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Tuesday, June 12th, 2012, 11:36 AM PERMALINK


Midwest Senate Democrats’ political survival is predicated on tricking their constituents. Surely the average voter in Ohio or Missouri does not want the government spending at historic highs, taxes to increase, or the Environmental Protection Agency to dictate the American economy—yet this is what their Senators stand for.   

Ruling the Senate with an iron fist and blocking problematic votes, Majority Leader Harry Reid has largely masked Midwest Democrats’ liberal ideology. But every now and then conservatives bring a bill to the floor that exposes who these Midwestern Democrats really are—California Senators with a twang. This week’s revelatory bill is Senator Inhofe’s Congressional Review Act (CRA) which would overturn the EPA’s Utility-MACT regulation, a deathblow to the coal industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs the industry supports.   

Costing an estimated $10 billion annually by 2016, the U-MACT wins the EPA’s pernicious accolade of most expensive regulation ever written for power plants. The U-MACT requires coal power plants to spend millions of dollars retrofitting their facilities or shutdown entirely. Unable to afford costly upgrades, many power plants will close their doors causing electricity prices and unemployment levels to rise.

Only requiring 50 votes to nullify the EPA’s regulation, there is a real chance Senator Inhofe’s CRA will become law. The lines are clearly delineated: Senators can side with their state’s job creators or Obama’s out of control EPA; Senators can support the CRA or oppose it.

This puts in-cycle Democrats in the proverbial pickle—they need votes come November but also want to kill the American coal industry. Coming to their rescue, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is planning on introducing a toothless bill with Democrat Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).

Politico has the details:

Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) will introduce legislation as early as Wednesday to allow six years to comply with EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants, according to a Senate GOP aide. The Clean Air Act allows EPA to provide three years for compliance with the rule, and for states to add one more (which they've been encouraged to do). A fifth year is possible if there are reliability concerns, but not for cost or any other reasons. The Alexander-Pryor legislation would allow an across-the-board longer compliance time for all utilities.

This new bill, which has zero chance of becoming law, is meant to justify Democrat opposition to Inhofe’s CRA. Nor would it significantly mitigate the U-MACT’s job killing, electricity increasing effects, simply delay them.

The only opportunity the Senate has to overturn the U-MACT, and all of its disastrous consequences, is to pass the Inhofe CRA. The Alexander-Pryor bill is dead-on-arrival rendering its hypothetical benefits irrelevant. Nothing more than a cover bill, the Alexander-Pryor bill’s intent is to blur the lines so clearly drawn by the Inhofe CRA and confuse voters. This can’t be allowed to happen.

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Over a Dozen Conservative Groups urge Congress to Include Keystone in Highway Bill


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012, 11:54 AM PERMALINK


For a PDF version of this letter, click here.

June 5, 2012

Dear Conferee,

On behalf of the millions of members and followers of our organizations, we urge you to ensure that Keystone XL Pipeline approval language is included in the final version of the Highway Bill. 

Given President Obama’s successive moves to block construction of the pipeline—and the thousands of jobs, increased energy security, and economic activity tethered to the project—Congress must override the President and approve the Keystone Pipeline. 

Constructing the Keystone pipeline would safely and immediately create 20,000 construction jobs, buttress America’s refining industry, and increase American energy security. Remarkably, these benefits remain in limbo with Obama scared to affront radical environmentalists during this election year.

The Keystone Pipeline has been thoroughly vetted by numerous federal agencies and successfully made its way through the federal rigmarole only to be killed in the 11th hour. Past concerns from the state of Nebraska have been assuaged; the governor recently signed a bill into law that resumes the review process of a new route.

Facing persistently high unemployment and a stagnant economy, Obama’s inhibitive policies necessitate Congressional remedy. Again, we urge you to jumpstart the American economy by ensuring the Keystone XL Pipeline is included in the final version of the transportation bill.

Sincerely,

FreedomWorks
Americans for Tax Reform                                
Citizen Outreach
National Center for Public Policy Research
Let Freedom Ring
Less Government
Gun Owners of America
ConservativeHQ.com
Frontiers of Freedom
Hispanic Leadership Fund
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
Americans for Prosperity
National Taxpayers Union
American Commitment
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

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Senate Passes Watered-Down Postal Bill


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Thursday, April 26th, 2012, 12:00 PM PERMALINK


After refusing to pass a budget for three years, the Senate today moved a postal “reform” bill that edifies the upper chamber’s refusal to confront the nation’s fiscal problems. Rather than reform the postal service’s bloated bureaucracy, the Democrat Senate has expanded the federal carrier’s authority and pushed it further towards bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the already watered down Senate bill only worsened throughout the amendment process; nearly every amendment that would have made S. 1789 more like Issa’s Postal Reform Act failed.

ATR highlighted many of S. 1789’s shortcomings in an earlier letter:

Given that over 80 percent of the Post Office’s costs are labor related—while FedEx and UPS spend 20-40 percent less—it is not surprising that the government entity can afford to shed 220,000 employees, according to its own estimates.  Unfortunately, S. 1789 does little to right-size USPS’s workforce and rein in overhead costs. Additionally, S. 1789 leaves thousands of unnecessary post offices and mail processing facilities untouched and requires Saturday delivery for at least two more years.

Not accounting for declines in mail volume, and subsequent declines in revenue, the USPS finds itself left with staff, infrastructure, and benefits it can no longer support. In 2010 the USPS lost $8.5 billion. Even after cooking the books and postponing $5.5 billion in retirement payments, the USPS still lost $5.1 billion in 2011. The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste points out that in 2010, former Postmaster General John Potter predicted that the USPS would lose $238 billion over ten years should the necessary reforms—absent in the bill before the Senate—fail to be implemented.  

Another concern that was not alleviated through the amendment process is whether or not USPS should be able to offer new services and products in order to bring in new revenue. In the past when the USPS has faced shortfalls, the entity has attempted to offer consumers more products—international shipping, ties, and other eventual boondoggles. These forays into other services have consistently ended poorly. Firstly, the USPS is not equipped to deliver these products at market price, so these new products inevitably result in a loss for the USPS. Secondly, any revenue the USPS gains comes at the detriment of a private company offering the same service.

Leveraging the government’s support of USPS to encroach on private businesses is bad policy and should be explicitly prohibited. Yet, the Senate bill leaves the door wide open for these types of job-killing activities.

Every day Democrats postpone meaningful USPS reform, the more difficult and painful eventual USPS restructuring will be.

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Conservatives to Senate: Rein in NLRB


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Monday, April 23rd, 2012, 1:30 PM PERMALINK


Last week, over two dozen conservative groups urged the Senate to support Sen. Enzi's Congressional Resolution of Disapproval and overturn the National Labor Relations Board’s Ambush Election regulation.

Some excerpts are below; click here for the full letter:

The ambush elections rule is a prime example of the NLRB advancing an element of legislation already rejected by Congress and putting the interests of labor bosses above those of workers.  If the Senate fails to overturn it, the rule will lead to even greater erosion of workers’ rights, by making it more difficult for them to make an informed decision. It would also add to the increasing regulatory burden on businesses and entrepreneurs that has stifled job creation.

Currently, the average period before a union election after a union files a petition is 38 days. This gives both the union and management an opportunity to explain the facts and ensure workers understand the high stakes in a representation election. The new rule will shorten it to as little as 10 days and eliminate procedural safeguards employers currently have to make sure union elections are duly authorized and eligible workers are properly defined before an election takes place.

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CAP Guides American People to Field of Democrat Straw Men


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Thursday, April 5th, 2012, 9:48 AM PERMALINK


Last week the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a paper showing how the organization can exploit, deepen, and further American misconceptions about the price of gasoline. What amounts to nothing more than a propaganda piece, CAP looks to capitalize on the inherent complexities of America’s energy sector and translate ignorance into Democrat electoral gains.

While this may be good politics, this type of misinformation is damaging—it lowers the energy debate to the lowest common denominator making it harder to solve America’s very real problems.

The CAP report urges Democrats to:

Play offense. Focus the debate on our policy agenda that big oil opposes. The strongest policy solutions are the ones being advocated by progressives, and are viewed as far more credible than the solutions advanced by the “drill here, drill now” contingent.

Ironically, the premises for CAP’s questions are largely false making their “solutions” irrelevant and inaccurate. Encouraging partisans to stand on shaky intellectual ground simply for the sake of “playing offense” is what most Americans find so offensive about Washington.

A quick fact check about CAP’s four main talking points:

Claim: American Oil for American Soil. Require oil companies to use the oil that is produced in the United States from public lands and offshore to meet energy needs here at home, and stop oil companies from exporting oil from our public lands and waters to overseas markets. (60 percent)

Fact: Americans will be happy to know that Americans consume nearly all of the oil we produce. But don’t take my word for it; check out the Energy Information Agency’s oil export import numbers. Many of the petroleum products the U.S. exports are substances that are of no use in this country, like oil coke, so prohibiting exports of these manufactured products would be of zero benefit to American consumers.

Claim: End Oil Subsidies. Repeal the four billion dollars per year in federal subsidies that currently are given to the oil companies, and use that money instead to fund investments that will make us less dependent on oil. (55 percent)

Fact: American oil and natural gas companies don’t receive a single dollar from the American people to produce oil and natural gas. What CAP is referring to as subsidies are standard tax deductions employed by many domestic manufacturers. Click here to read more about these cost recovery mechanisms utilized by the oil and natural gas industry.
 
Claim: Crack Down On Excessive Speculation. Tighter oversight and regulation of Wall Street speculators to prevent them from artificially driving up the price of gasoline. (54 percent)

Fact: While it has always been popular to denounce Wall Street, oil speculators actually help smooth changes in oil prices. Also, if you are going to blame speculators for high oil prices, you must credit them with record low natural gas, i.e. electricity, prices.  

Claim: More Fuel Efficient Cars and Trucks. Increase fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks, so they get more miles per gallon and consumers will save on their gasoline costs. (49 percent)

Fact: If people want to buy more fuel-efficient cars, they are entirely capable of making that decision absent government mandates. There are many reasons why Americans might choose not to purchase more fuel efficient cars. For example, poorer Americans who value their lives might abstain from purchasing a government-mandated car since they are significantly more expensive and lighter, increasingly the likelihood of death in an accident.

All in all, the only real conclusions one should glean from this paper is that CAP is more interested in electoral gains than facts.

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Democrat policies threaten to starve American refiners


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Friday, March 30th, 2012, 12:29 PM PERMALINK


With the 2012 election cycle in full swing, yesterday Obama took to the stump calling for job-killing tax increases on nefarious oil companies. Although nothing gets the Democrat base excited like demonizing oil and natural gas producers—an industry responsible for over 9 million American jobs, mind you—raising taxes on the oil industry will necessarily stymie American production of our natural resources.

What those hoping “Big Oil” topples over don’t realize is that thousands of American manufacturers rely on the oil and natural gas industry—businesses sell equipment to oil and natural gas producers and also transform crude oil into fuel and a variety of other useful products. One industry that would be hardest hit from a reduction in oil and natural gas production would be America’s refiners. Already struggling for a variety of mostly government-induced reasons, further reductions in crude would literally starve America’s robust refining sector of its lifeblood.

I say further reductions because the Obama Administration is already inhibiting domestic oil and natural gas production wherever possible. Cancelling lease sales on the Atlantic coast, delaying lease sales for nearly a year in the gulf, and increasing the amount of time it takes companies to receive requisite permits have all immediately impacted domestic oil production, and intern, America’s refiners.

To learn more, check out the House Natural Resources Committee’s depressing compilation of all the ways Democrats have attempted to impede domestic energy.

Over in the other chamber, the Republican Energy and Natural Resources staff created this great chart illustrating how difficult it became for job creators to receive an Application for Permit to Drill (APD) under Obama’s tenure:But it doesn’t end there. The most explicit attack on refiners from the Obama Administration thus far must be the decision to kill the Keystone pipeline. As most people know by now, the Keystone Pipeline would have delivered around 800,000 barrels of Canadian crude oil to, you guessed it, America’s refiners. Creating tens of thousands of construction jobs and ensuring that America’s refiners have crude oil to manufacture into other products, the Keystone pipeline would have been a shot of life for the recession weary construction and refining industries. Unfortunately, Obama’s decision to kill the pipeline is indicative of the Administration’s antagonistic stance towards anyone involved in the oil and natural gas supply chain.

So while oil production on federal lands will in all likelihood continue to decline as long as Obama is in the White House, America’s refiners will have to rely on oil production from private lands. Instead of using oil and natural gas companies as an applause line, the Obama Administration should look to increase American jobs and energy security—it sure would make life for America’s refiners a whole lot easier.

 

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