Christopher Prandoni

Conservative and Free Market Groups Applaud Move to Delay a Vote on Gina McCarthy


Posted by Christopher Prandoni on Thursday, May 9th, 2013, 12:51 PM PERMALINK


Today a broad group of conservative grassroots organizations issued a joint statement in support of the Republican move to delay a vote on EPA Administrator nominee Gina McCarthy. Responding to McCarthy’s refusal to adequately answer five transparency-related questions posed by Environment and Public Works Republicans, Senate Republicans have postponed a committee vote on McCarthy by disallowing a quorum.

The joint statement is below:

The undersigned conservative and free market groups and millions of activists we represent applaud Senate Republicans’ move to force Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disclosure. Today’s walkout was necessitated by EPA nominee Gina McCarthy’s refusal to adequately answer concerns the American people have about EPA policies. Given the enormous influence the EPA has over the American economy and consumers’ energy bills, the EPA should not be allowed to operate in the dark. The American people deserve public access to the health data underlying multi-billion dollar regulations. Science depends on robust peer review. Environment and Public Works Republicans are correct to demand commitments for a more transparent EPA – anything else would be a disservice to the millions of Americans directly affected by the agency. 

American Commitment
Americans for Tax Reform
Americans for Prosperity
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Freedom Action

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Obama's Offshore Ban: Good for Rallying Democrat Base, Bad for the Unemployed Worker


Posted by Christopher Prandoni, Marshall Bornemann on Thursday, November 17th, 2011, 9:44 AM PERMALINK


First it was Keystone, now it’s coast-to-coast. Scared to affront his base in an election year, Obama has imposed a five-year drilling ban on a majority of offshore areas. This is particularly disappointing given America’s persistent unemployment. 

Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise. Obama’s recent decision to punt on Keystone may have effectively killed the project, and the thousands of jobs needed to complete the pipeline. Like Keystone, the Department of Interior’s five year lease plan leaves hundreds of thousands of jobs on the table.

The Institute for Energy Research’s Dan Simmons points out a few facts about offshore oil and natural gas production:

·  2.2 percent of offshore areas are leased for oil and natural gas production
·  Oil and natural gas production on federal lands has fallen by over 40 percent since 2000
·  Since 2000, oil production on private and state lands has risen by 11 percent and natural gas production has riven by 40 percent
·  When President Obama was elected, all offshore lands were available for leasing except for a small area near Florida’s coast
·  The Obama administration’s new five-year plan doesn’t allow oil and natural gas exploration or production on the vast majority of taxpayer-owned offshore areas

IER’s chart illustrates how oil and natural gas production fell off a cliff once Obama assumed office:

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash) articulates what is at stake:

The President’s plan is to simply say ‘no’ to new energy production and ‘no’ to new American jobs created by new offshore drilling. It’s a plan that is sending American jobs overseas, forfeiting new revenue, and denying access to American energy that would lessen our dependence on hostile Middle Eastern oil.

Developing the United State’s offshore resources would create over a million jobs, generate billions in revenue and significantly reduce foreign oil imports. It’s been six months since the House has passed bipartisan bills to reverse the Obama moratorium and allow new offshore drilling and the Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to act.

And Chairman Hasting’s staff explains how we ended up here:

Background – Timeline of OCS Leasing and Development:

Beginning in 1981 -

Congress annually passes a moratorium on new OCS development.

1990 -

President George H.W. Bush institutes an Executive Moratorium on OCS leasing (overlapping the annual moratorium imposed by Congress).

July 14, 2008 -

President George W. Bush lifts the Executive ban on OCS leasing.

July 30, 2008 -

President George W. Bush announces the beginning of a new “five-year plan” to provide a blueprint for OCS leasing in the 2010 to 2015 period. This would replace the five-year plan for the 2007-2012 period, which did not provide for any lease sales in areas that were covered by the moratorium.

October 1, 2008 -

Responding to public outcry over high gas prices and mounting pressure from Republican lawmakers, Congress lifts the ban on new oil and gas leasing in the OCS.

January 16, 2009 -

Bush Interior Department issues a Draft Proposed OCS oil and gas leasing program, and solicits comments on all aspects of the plan. The proposal includes 31 OCS lease sales in all or some portion of 12 of the 26 planning areas—4 areas off Alaska, 2 areas off the Pacific coast, 3 areas in the Gulf of Mexico, and 3 areas off the Atlantic coast.

February 10, 2009 -

Secretary Salazar announces he will delay the Bush Administration 5-year plan for oil and natural gas development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf for six months. He begins a “listening tour” in spite of the fact that the Bush Administration had already solicited public opinion on this plan.

September 17, 2009 -

Secretary Salazar states that the Administration may not complete a new OCS lease plan until 2012.

September 21, 2009 -

The Administration’s extended public comment period on the draft proposed 2010-2015 Outer Continental Shelf plan comes to an end – yet the Administration still makes no announcement regarding the future of offshore drilling.

January 26, 2010 -

The Department of the Interior announces it will delay the Virginia offshore lease sale scheduled for November 2011.

January 27, 2010 -

President Obama mentions offshore drilling in his State of the Union address – leading many to believe he is open to expanding drilling in the OCS.

February 1, 2010 -

President Obama releases his FY 2011 budget proposal that shows revenue from new Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leasing declining from $1.5 billion in 2009 to only $413 million in 2015. The only way revenue would decline is if less of the OCS is offered for leasing for energy production.

February 4, 2010 -

The Wall Street Journal reports that public comments collected by the Department of the Interior ran 2-to-1 in favor of the new 2010-2015 lease plan.

March 3, 2010 -

Secretary Salazar confirms that the Administration will not put a new OCS lease plan in place until 2012, which means no new drilling will take place during President Obama’s term in office.

July, 2010 -

The date new areas would be available for leasing under the original 2010-2015 lease plan if it were not for the “Obama Moratorium,” which has delayed implementation of a new lease plan until 2012.

December 1, 2010 -

Effectively reinstated the ban on offshore drilling, placing the entire Pacific Coast, the entire Atlantic Coast, the Eastern Gulf and parts of Alaska off limits to future energy production until 2017 at the earliest.

November 8, 2011 -

Announces a new draft 2012-2017 lease plan that closes the majority of the OCS to new energy production. The draft plan prohibits new offshore drilling and only allows lease sales to occur in areas that are already open. It includes lease sales in the Western Gulf of Mexico and Alaska – leaving portions of the Arctic and the entire Atlantic and Pacific Coasts off-limits to new energy production and job creation. 

 

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Another Congressman Withdraws Support Of NAT GAS Act


Posted by Christopher Prandoni, Marshall Bornemann on Friday, September 16th, 2011, 4:12 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) commends Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick for withdrawing his support of H.R. 1380, the NAT GAS (New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions) Act. The NAT GAS Act would allow Americans purchasing natural gas cars or building natural gas fuel pumps to employ a tax credit.

Conservatives should find this problematic as it gives certain natural gas consumers— those using the resource to power cars—an advantage over other natural gas consumers— a utility company converting natural gas to power. Furthermore, tilting the playing field in favor of one form of natural gas consumption is unnecessary—UPS and FedEx have substantial natural gas fleets without implementation of this misbegotten tax policy.

Not dissimilar from attempts to spur purchasing of wind and solar power, the NAT GAS Act is justified by false premises: Americans are too reliant on foreign oil (we are running out of oil) and we need to reduce carbon emissions, proponents argue. Neither of these supposed problems would be remedied were the NAT GAS Act to become law—neither emissions nor foreign imports would meaningfully decline.

Adherents of the free market should be working to unwind America’s convoluted energy sector, not add additional layers of complexity.

Again, Americans for Tax Reform applauds Rep. Fitzpatrick for withdrawing his name from HR 1380.

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Sens. Burr and Coburn Push for DoE Probe


Posted by Christopher Prandoni, Billy Gribbin on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010, 3:34 PM PERMALINK


With the Obama agenda receiving a thorough rebuke on November 2nd, liberal prerogatives are sure to take a back seat in the 112th Congress. In response to the impending Congressional logjam, Democrats are utilizing obscure federal agencies to implement their preferred policies.  

With Cap-and-Trade dead, the EPA is issuing strict rules to inhibit the construction of coal fired power plants. The National Labor Relations Board and National Mediations Board are facilitating unionization, as Card Check is unlikely to pass congress anytime soon. In the same vein, the Department of Education has issued rules which would prohibit for-profit colleges from receiving federal aid if data shows that their graduates have poor records of repaying government loans—a metric being called “gainful employment.”

Cutting off federal aid to profit schools would put them at an even greater competitive disadvantage. Public schools, being funded by the state, do have many of the same budgetary constraints as their private counterparts. Financial reform has been hard to accomplish in public education; after all, no politician wants to be the one cutting off resources to a local college.  The increased regulations being proposed by the Department will only serve to further imbalance a playing field which is already tilted in favor of taxpayer-funded public schools.  That the Obama administration supports this approach should come as no surprise; under such liberal guidance the Department always serves to expand its domain rather than the interests of the nation’s students.

Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) have requested that Kathleen S. Tighe, Inspector General for the Department of Education, initiate an investigation into the Department’s handling of its upcoming regulations. In their joint letter, the Senators expressed alarm concerning the Department’s recent “gainful employment” proposals:

“Information has become available that raises serious concerns about whether some negotiators failed to comply with the organizational protocols governing the rulemaking process and other laws governing these proceedings. In addition, publicly available documents indicate the Department may have leaked the proposed regulations to parties supporting the administration’s position and investors who stand to benefit from the failure of the proprietary school sector.”

The Senators’ note that a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was submitted in July by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) regarding “the extent to which Education has knowingly relied on, or has been manipulated by, the views of individuals who seek to advance their financial interests in the for-profit industry by publicly criticizing certain for-profit education entities and companies.”  The CREW inquiry has not yet been met with a response.

Burr and Coburn go on to cite information obtained from a Florida public records request, revealing that Edie Irons, Communications Director for TICAS, emailed an embargoed copy of the program regulations to various individuals a full day before the document’s scheduled release.  The Senators are concerned that if such information is being prematurely and selectively distributed it may have easily fallen into the hands of groups which “stand to benefit financially from the failure of the proprietary sector.”

The pressing questions asked by Sens. Burr and Coburn are made even more urgent by the Department’s mysterious recalcitrance in providing answers.  With controversial regulations such as these, and the future of American education at stake, the Department of Education cannot afford to remain silent much longer.

Click here for a copy of the Senators' letter.

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Obama's Attack on Chamber of Commerce Backfires


Posted by Christopher Prandoni, Billy Gribbin on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010, 4:34 PM PERMALINK


The last month has seen typical political salvos rise and fall from both sides of the aisle, but the election-season attack that won’t go away originated from the White House.  In early October, President Obama lashed out at the United States Chamber of Commerce, intimating shady dealings with foreign donors.  Unfortunately for the President, his remarks have become an albatross the Democratic Party will be wearing into today’s elections.

A recently released Fox News poll shows that the Chamber of Commerce has a 48% approval rating amongst registered voters, a slight lead on Barack Obama’s 47%.  The Democratic Party as a whole is faring even worse, trailing by 42%.  These numbers come just days before an election that is already expected to swing in Republicans’ favor, possibly upsetting the balance of power in both the House and Senate.

The Chamber of Commerce is a massive lobby representing the interests of a large swath of American businesses and associations.  This election cycle, the Chamber has spent the vast majority of its campaign contributions furthering the cause of Republican candidates. Obama went for an easy smear, despite receiving over twice as much as McCain in contributions from the business community, as ATR has recently reported: “So groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections, and they won’t tell you where the money for their ads comes from.”  This line of vague accusation has been taken up and echoed by others in the Obama administration and Democrat leaders, despite even the liberal New York Times concluding that “there is little evidence that what the chamber does in collecting overseas dues is improper or even unusual.”

If Obama and his fellow Democrats wish to root out shady campaign contributions from special interests, they needn’t look farther than their own doorstep. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the largest outside spender for the 2010 elections has been a public sector union, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which spent more than the Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads/Crossroads GOP, the two biggest Republican spenders.  Rounding out the top five spenders this cycle are the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Education Association (NEA), which combined with AFSCME in spending tens of millions of dollars advancing Democratic candidates.  That so much of the Left’s war chest comes from labor unions—many of which force membership upon workers—should be the real scandal going into this election.

Fortunately, the public hasn’t been taken in by the current administration’s hypocrisy.  In the same Fox News poll cited above, labor unions scored 38% in public approval: 4% behind Democrats, 6% behind Republicans, and 10% behind Barack Obama’s whipping boy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but when it comes to the Democrats and their union cronies, their time for fooling around at all is approaching its end.

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