IRS Manager Caught Playing Hooky To Attend Obama Rally

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Wednesday, July 13th, 2016, 3:32 PM PERMALINK


An IRS manager shirked her official duties to attend an Obama re-election rally in 2012, according to a statement issued Wednesday from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. According to the statement, the IRS employee canceled a site visit and disappeared for four hours: 

OSC’s investigation confirmed allegations that the employee, while on official travel to perform site visits with her subordinates, canceled a site visit and asked a subordinate to drop her off at the location of a presidential candidate’s campaign rally.

The employee did not return to her place of duty for over four hours and did not request leave. OSC concluded that the employee attended the campaign rally and thus violated the Hatch Act’s prohibition against engaging in political activity while on duty.

Amazingly, the IRS employee gets to keep her job. As noted by Politico, OSC has announced the slap on the wrist given to the guilty IRS employee, a mere 14-day suspension:

“A supervisor at the Internal Revenue Service has received a 14-day suspension for ditching work in 2012 to attend a re-election rally for President Barack Obama. The IRS official's actions violated the Hatch Act, a federal law limiting politicking by government employees.”

The supervisor blatantly disobeyed the Hatch Act, which states that one must “not engage in political activity while on duty or in the workplace.” Not only did she defy a federal law that was meant to protect citizens from unelected bureaucrats engaging in partisan activities, but she also abused her power as a supervisor to instruct her subordinates in helping her shirk her duties.

The political engagement of an IRS manager at an Obama rally should be of no surprise. The IRS has a history of engaging in a left-partisan manner, even though it is supposed to be a politically neutral entity. During a three-year period of time that Lois Lerner was an IRS boss, only one conservative group was granted non-profit status.

Like Lerner, the IRS supervisor engaged in political activity on the taxpayers’ dime. She should be fired, not given a wrist slap. A 14 day suspension will not cure her negligence or defiance of her federal duties under the law. Breaking federal law does not result in a fourteen day suspension for most people, and the same should apply to the supervisor. 

 

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Bob Brown

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Illinois Obamacare Co-op Becomes 16th to Collapse

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Posted by Toni-Anne Barry on Wednesday, July 13th, 2016, 1:23 PM PERMALINK


Sixteen Obamacare co-ops have now failed. Illinois announced that Land of Lincoln Health, a taxpayer funded Obamacare co-op, would close its doors, leaving 49,000 without insurance. The co-op now joins a list of 15 other Obamacare co-ops that have collapsed since Obamacare has been implemented.  Failed co-ops have now cost taxpayers more than $1.7 billion in funds that may never be recovered.

Co-ops were hyped as not-for-profit alternatives to traditional insurance companies created under Obamacare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) financed co-ops with startup and solvency loans, totaling more than $2.4 billion in taxpayer dollars. They have failed to become sustainable with many collapsing amid the failure of Obamacare exchanges.

Since September, 13 Obamacare co-ops have collapsed, with only seven of the original 23 co-ops remaining.  Illinois’ Land of Lincoln co-op faced losses of $90 million last year and is suing the federal government for the deficit caused by Obamacare.  Co-ops across the country have struggled to operate in Obamacare exchanges, losing millions despite receiving enormous government subsidies.

The mass failure of co-ops should not be surprising. Larger insurance companies have also struggled to operate in Obamacare exchanges with many announcing they will stop providing coverage.

The web of government subsidies have also failed to provide insurances the funds they were promised. One of these programs – risk corridors -- recouped just 12.6 percent of the funds that insurers requested. The program, which was created to encourage insurers to take on higher risk individuals by transferring funds from insurers who made money to those that posted losses, was required to be budget neutral under law leaving Obamacare insurers with a significant shortfall.

Obamacare co-ops have also been plagued by inept management and unrealistic business models.

As a report by the Daily Caller’s Richard Pollock found, 17 of the 21 co-ops paid out gratuitous salaries to executives reaching as high as $587,000, which is more than four times as much as the $135,000 median health insurance executive salary. Worse still, many of these executives had little to no experience in the insurance industry and some of these excessive salaries were disguised in financial documents as “management fees.”  Last year, 21 of 23 co-ops posted losses.

Given the trend of failing Obamacare co-ops, the collapse of the Illinois co-op will not be the last.

A list of all failed co-ops and their cost to taxpayers compiled by the House Energy and Commerce Committee is found below:

CoOportunity Health - Iowa and Nebraska
Cost: $145,312,100

Louisiana Health Cooperative, Inc.
Cost:
$65,790,660

Nevada Health Cooperative
Cost: $65,925,396

Health Republic Insurance of New York
Cost: $265,133,000

Kentucky Health Care Cooperative - Kentucky and West Virginia
Cost: $146,494,772

Community Health Alliance Mutual Insurance Company - Tennessee
Cost: $73,306,700

Colorado HealthOp
Cost: $72,335,129

Health Republic Insurance of Oregon
Cost: $60,648,505

Consumers' Choice Health Insurance Company - South Carolina
Cost: $87,578,208

Arches Mutual Insurance Company – Utah
Cost: $89,650,303

Meritus Health Partners – Arizona
Cost: $93,313,233

Consumers Mutual Insurance – Michigan
Cost: $71,534,300

InHealth Mutual – Ohio
Cost: $129,225,604

HealthyCT – Connecticut
Cost: $127,980,768

Oregon Health’s CO-OP – Oregon
Cost: $56,656,900

Land of Lincoln Health – Illinois
Cost: $160,154,812

TOTAL TAXPAYER DOLLARS: $1,711,040,390

Note: This total does not include Vermont’s CO-OP, which was denied an insurance license by the state, and was dissolved before enrolling a single person.  

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Fraser Elliot

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watchdogsc

socialism works until they run out of other people's money

El Cid

Corruption doesn't "go along with it". Socialism is corruption itself. It is a system to enrich the few and impoverish and enslave the masses. There are three kinds of socialist turd: 1) The evil, greedy, criminal who wants to grow rich stealing from the middle class. 2) The self-loathing guilty yuppie desperate to prove s/he is "virtuous", and 3) The Gimeedat Parasite who is content to be a slave provided that there is unlimited access to fast food and alcohol/drugs.

Billy G

Don't forget the corruption that inevitably goes along with it.


Senate Should Pass Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, July 13th, 2016, 8:00 AM PERMALINK


Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) will this week introduce the “Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act.” America is more than $19 trillion in debt and this number shows no sign of decreasing. If a President asks Congress to raise the debt ceiling, they must also show a commitment to addressing the long term debt crisis.

This legislation forces this by requiring the administration provide Congress with detailed information on the federal debt and propose solutions to address the crisis as a condition of raising the debt limit. Similar legislation introduced by Congressman Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) passed the House last year on a bipartisan vote of 267-151. Given the support in the House, ATR urges all Senators to co-sponsor and swiftly pass this commonsense legislation.

The Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act requires the Treasury Secretary to appear before Congressional Committees between 21 and 60 days before the Debt Limit will be reached to provide a detailed report outlining the nation’s financial state and to propose substantive reforms.

First, Treasury must submit a “Debt Report,” containing information on the current state of public debt, including historical levels of debt, the drivers and current composition of debt, and future debt projections.

Second, the legislation requires a “Statement of Intent,” containing short, medium, and long-term solutions the debt crisis, how increasing the debt limit will impact future spending, debt service, and the strength and stability of the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency.

Third, the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act requires a “Progress Report,” if the administration comes before Congress for additional debt limit increases in the future. This report must contain information on the status of all recommendations made in the original statement of intent.

The Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act creates a clear, yet comprehensive framework that any administration must follow to reduce federal debt when requesting a debt limit increase. By requiring the submission of a detailed report and comprehensive plan before Congress, this legislation will ensure that increasing the debt ceiling only occurs as part of a framework to reform the nation’s finances and chart a pathway toward fiscal responsibility. ATR urges all Senators to support and co-sponsor this important legislation.

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Stuartpayne

I would support this, but question whether the government will follow its own laws. Where's the "teeth" to enforce this?


Committee Holds Hearing on FCC Oversight

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Posted by Daniel Savickas on Tuesday, July 12th, 2016, 4:07 PM PERMALINK


The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing today with all five Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioners to discuss oversight of the Commission.

The hearing touched on a wide range of issues. Of those included the auction of high band spectrum, the FCC’s set top box proposal, and the sustainability of the Lifeline program.

FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, set the stage for the FCC’s open meeting on Thursday that will clarify the FCC’s policy and plan on high-band spectrum. This is another first of its kind auction.  Wheeler is optimistic about the proceedings.  He belives more high-band spectrum will allow the United States to lead the world in high speed, high capacity 5th Generation (5G) networks.

Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Representative Bob Latta, began by taking aim at the set top box proposal saying it is not the solution to protecting consumers. Representative Marsha Blackburn followed shortly thereafter saying the FCC has not ensured people be compensated for creating what is theirs, and the proposal threatens small businesses.

In Commissioner Ajit Pai’s testimony, he criticized the Commission’s set top box proposal further by saying it “misses the mark” and fails to protect the intellectual property of consumers and disproportionately hurts small businesses. He also said the proposal fails the most basic test of providing all consumers with the same privacy protections. He strongly recommended an approach that would lead towards an app-based system instead.

Pai continued by addressing the rampant waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program, which is meant to increase Internet access for low-income families. Pai added that the abuse is greater than he imagined, and that the program does not serve the low-income families that deserve it.

Americans for Tax Reform joined a coalition letter expressing gratitude that the Committee is looking into these important matters, and outlined concerns about the harmful effects of the FCC’s policies. The full letter can be found here.

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ATR Supports H.R. 5499, the Agency Accountability Act (AAA)

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Tuesday, July 12th, 2016, 3:01 PM PERMALINK


American for Tax Reform (ATR) President Grover Norquist today sent a letter to Congressional lawmakers urging support for Representative Gary Palmer's (R-Ala.) Agency Accountability Act (AAA), H.R. 5499.

Congress has granted agencies the authority to collect fines, fees, and other revenues outside of appropriated funds. While most of these funds are used to offset appropriations, a large portion are used by agencies to self-fund programs and operations outside of the normal appropriations process.

H.R. 5499 would correct this discrepancy by requiring that all fines, fees, penalties, and other unappropriated proceeds, be directed to the Treasury, thus making them subject to the appropriations process. Agencies would still receive the funds required to exercise their standard functions, but those funds would now be placed back under Congressional oversight.      

Below is the text of the letter, which can also be found here.

July 12, 2016

Dear Members of Congress,

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) urges your support of H.R. 5499, the Agency Accountability Act (AAA), introduced by Representative Gary Palmer (R-Ala.). Representative Palmer’s H.R. 5499 would increase transparency and oversight of the funds collected by federal agencies and in doing so would help to restore Congress’s Article I authority by subjecting such funds to the appropriations process.  

Congress has granted agencies the authority to collect fines, fees, and revenue, with a portion of those funds being used to offset appropriations. However, some of these funds do not receive Congressional oversight as to how they are spent, leaving agencies to use those funds to finance programs and functions outside of the typical appropriations process. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in 2015 the federal government collected over $500 billion in user fees alone. 

Congress’s “power of the purse” is thus being usurped as billions in annual revenue from fines and fees levied by federal agencies escapes the appropriations process. For instance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) receive no appropriated funds from Congress.

H.R. 5499 would work to correct such discrepancies by requiring that all fines, fees, and penalties, and other unappropriated proceeds, be directed to the Treasury, thus making them subject to the appropriations process. Agencies would still receive the funds required to exercise their standard functions, but those funds would now be placed back under Congressional oversight.      

H.R. 5499 is a positive measure to increase Congressional oversight over the actions of federal agencies, thus improving the overall transparency and accountability of the federal government.

I urge you to support and vote for H.R. 5499, the Agency Accountability Act.

Sincerely,

Grover G. Norquist

President

Americans for Tax Reform

 

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Postal Reform Bill Raises Concerns Ahead of Committee Markup

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Tuesday, July 12th, 2016, 12:03 PM PERMALINK


Today the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will markup the Postal Service Reform Act of 2016, proposed by Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and the committee's Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).

While the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is in dire need of reform, given that it has posted consecutive billion dollar losses annually since 2007 and is facing $125 billion in unfunded liabilities, a number of provisions in the Postal Service Reform Act (the Act) are cause for concern.

First, the Act provides for an increase in rates on certain postal products. Such a move has the effect of forcing consumers beholden to a government monopoly to cover USPS shortfalls. Second, the Act works to expand the Postal Service's role to services outside of the USPS's core mission of mail delivery. USPS should not look to expand it's mission to areas such as grocery delivery, banking, and other ill-advised schemes, but instead focus on improving the Postal Service's core mission.

Ahead of the hearing, ATR President Grover Norquist sent a letter today to Chairman Chaffetz, Ranking Member Cummings, and committee members, expressing these concerns. Text of the letter is below:   

July 12, 2016

Dear Chairman Chaffetz, Ranking Member Cummings, and Committee Members:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), and millions of taxpayers nationwide, we write regarding the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s markup today of the Postal Service Reform Act of 2016, introduced by Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings. 

While increasing the operational efficiency and financial stability of the United States Postal Service (USPS) is a laudable goal, a number of the reforms contained in the Postal Service Reform Act are not in line with achieving that goal. Instead, provisions within the Act providing for the increase of postal rates and an expansion beyond the core mission of mail delivery will only perpetuate many of the issues already plaguing the Postal Service. 

It is no secret the Postal Service has suffered from prolonged financial instability. Since 2007 the Postal Service has consecutively posted billions in losses and is facing $125 billion in unfunded liabilities, most of which is due in part to the decline of traditional mail. 

Although these issues are concerning, the answer should not be reforms that increase rates on some of the Postal Service’s most profitable products, essentially forcing consumers beholden to a government monopoly to cover USPS shortfalls. It is also not the answer to expand USPS services further outside of the core mission of mail delivery by creating a “Chief Innovation Officer” tasked with developing and implementing “nonpostal products and services.”

Lawmakers should instead look to make meaningful reforms that focus on improving the efficiency of the Postal Service’s core mission of mail delivery and increase operational transparency and accountability.       

Sincerely,

Grover G. Norquist

President

Americans for Tax Reform

 

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Oregon Obamacare Co-op Becomes 15th to Collapse

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Monday, July 11th, 2016, 5:24 PM PERMALINK


Fifteen Obamacare co-ops have now failed. Oregon announced Friday that its second taxpayer funded Obamacare co-op would close its doors, leaving 40,000 to find new insurance. The co-op, known as “Oregon’s Health CO-OP now joins a list of 14 other Obamacare co-ops that have collapsed including Health Republic Insurance of Oregon which closed last year.  Failed co-ops have now cost taxpayers more than $1.5 billion in funds that may never be recovered.

Co-ops were created as not-for-profit alternatives to traditional insurance companies created under Obamacare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) financed co-ops with startup and solvency loans, totaling more than $2.4 billion in taxpayer dollars. Co-ops were envisioned as innovative providers that could provide member-driven care without needing to worry about recording a profit. In practice, they have failed to become sustainable with many collapsing amid the failure of Obamacare exchanges.

Since September, 12 Obamacare co-ops have collapsed, with only 8 of the original 23 co-ops remaining.  Oregon’s Health co-op faced losses of $18.4 million last year and owed the federal government close to $1 million.  Co-op across the country have struggled to operate in Obamacare exchanges, losing millions despite receiving multiple government subsidies.

The mass failure of co-ops should not be surprising. Larger insurance companies have also struggled to operate in Obamacare exchanges with many announcing they will stop providing coverage.

The web of government subsidies have also failed to provide insurances the funds they were promised. One of these programs, Risk corridors recouped just 12.6 percent of the funds that insurers requested. The program, which was created to encourage insurers to take on higher risk individuals by transferring funds from insurers who made money to those that posted losses, was required to be budget neutral under law leaving Obamacare insurers with a significant shortfall.

Obamacare co-ops have also been plagued by inept management and unrealistic business models.

As a report by the Daily Caller’s Richard Pollock found, 17 of the 21 co-ops paid out gratuitous salaries to executives reaching as high as $587,000, which is more than four times as much as the $135,000 median health insurance executive salary. Worse still, many of these executives had little to no experience in the insurance industry and some of these excessive salaries were disguised in financial documents as “management fees”. Last year, 21 of 23 co-ops posted losses.

Given the trend of failing Obamacare co-ops, the collapse of Oregon’s second co-op will not be the last.

A list of all failed co-ops and their cost to taxpayers compiled by the House Energy and Commerce Committee is found below:

CoOportunity Health - Iowa and Nebraska
Cost:
$145,312,100 

Louisiana Health Cooperative, Inc.

Cost: $65,790,660 

Nevada Health Cooperative 

Cost: $65,925,396

Health Republic Insurance of New York

Cost: $265,133,000

Kentucky Health Care Cooperative - Kentucky and West Virginia

Cost: $146,494,772 

Community Health Alliance Mutual Insurance Company - Tennessee

Cost: $73,306,700

Colorado HealthOp
Cost:
$72,335,129 

Health Republic Insurance of Oregon

Cost: $60,648,505  

Consumers' Choice Health Insurance Company - South Carolina
Cost:
$87,578,208 

Arches Mutual Insurance Company – Utah

Cost: $89,650,303

Meritus Health Partners – Arizona
Cost: $
93,313,233 

Consumers Mutual Insurance – Michigan

Cost: $71,534,300 

InHealth Mutual – Ohio

Cost: $129,225,604

HealthyCT – Connecticut

Cost: $127,980,768

Oregon Health’s CO-OP – Oregon

Cost: $56,656,900


TOTAL TAXPAYER DOLLARS: $1,550,885,578

Note: This total does not include Vermont’s CO-OP, which was denied an insurance license by the state, and was dissolved before enrolling a single person.  

 

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John Pastirchak

Good point. You're referring to the marketing model of the once dominant A&P Grocery chain which ultimately failed. DC fares no better today. Obamacare is crumbling.

Mac

Their idea of running a business is to take a slight loss on everything you sell and make it up on the volume.

John Pastirchak

Is anyone surprised? Failed co-ops are like eggs on the faces of Socialists who believed they could do the impossible by sheer ideological will. True, in 2010 they had the votes. Too bad they didn't have any brains.


Rep. Gosar’s IERA Amendment Will Block Increased EPA Overreach

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Posted by Bradley Wyatt on Monday, July 11th, 2016, 3:38 PM PERMALINK


This week, the United States House of Representatives will consider H.R. 5538, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, introduced by Representative Ken Calvert (R-Calif.). This legislation allocates 2017 federal funding for agencies such as the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Forest Services, the Indian Health Service, and other related agencies.  

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) has offered an Amendment (#7) to H.R. 5538 that would prohibit the use of funds to carry out the draft EPA-USGA Technical Report entitled, “Protecting Aquatic Life from Effects of Hydrologic Alteration.” Agency guidance under the report would expand the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and increase federal control over waters currently under the jurisdiction of the states.

Since taking office, the Obama administration has sought to enact a number of overreaching and extraneous regulations on individuals and businesses that have cost billions of dollars. For instance, under Obama the EPA has put forth the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, which would allow the agency to regulate private property anywhere that water can conceivably flow. It is estimated the WOTUS rule would cost American property owners and small businesses hundreds of millions annually in compliance and related costs.

Now, the EPA is again looking to expand it’s authority as part of agency guidance under the EPA-USGA Technical Report. If EPA authority were expanded pursuant to the Report, the agency could require an individual private water owner or local municipality to obtain a federal permit anytime they alter the amount of water available in rivers or other water systems.

American citizens cannot afford more economic hurdles and the commandeering of state powers over precious water supplies from an overzealous, unaccountable federal government.  States, local governments, and private water rights holders should not be subjected to such costly and burdensome federal overreach.

Americans for Tax Reform encourages all members of Congress to support Rep. Gosar’s Amendment #7 to H.R. 5538, which would prohibit funds for the EPA-USGS Technical Report, which aims to expand the scope of federal control over waters currently under the jurisdiction of states. 

 

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Thune Encourages More Oversight of Executive Bureaucracies

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Posted by Daniel Savickas on Friday, July 8th, 2016, 1:50 PM PERMALINK


Senator John Thune highlighted yesterday vast leadership failures at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and shed light on how bureaucratic institutions like the FCC have hijacked the separation of powers doctrine that has guided this nation.

Thune powerfully condemned the systemic misuse of an organization that was meant, in his words, “to be places of expertise” to inform policy-making. However, the FCC has not embodied this key role for quite some time. Thune continued:

In recent years, the FCC has behaved less as an independent commission accountable to Congress, and more as a de facto arm of the executive branch, wholly subservient to the President. At the same time, the FCC has become more partisan than ever before, and an institution that has seized greater regulatory power while simultaneously shutting down bipartisan dialogue and compromise.”

In a time where the regulatory arm of the Executive Branch would make any one of our founders cringe, it is vital to sustaining our liberty that we recognize the reality of our situation as Senator Thune has done.

Thune’s words also ring true in a time where brave representatives in our legislature are trying to reclaim the promise that our founders handed down to us that our government would not have the power to act so unilaterally as to restrict our most basic freedoms.

The Separation of Powers Restoration Act (SOPRA) reels in the power that federal agencies and unelected bureaucrats have to dictate the policy that governs each American.

Introduced by Congressman John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.), as well as Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Mike Lee (R-Utah), SOPRA ends judicial deference to a 1984 court decision that requires courts to accept the executive branch’s interpretation of any law passed by Congress that may be vague in any way.

The FCC and the Obama administration have been allowed to run rampant, because of this irresponsible decision. Thune, along with these representatives are trying to solidify the truth that each branch of government is on equal footing.

Thune’s words go a long way in exposing the tacit acceptance of government overreach in this country. This precedent must not be allowed to continue.

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Obama OK’s Plan to Increase Eagle Deaths at Wind Farms

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Posted by Bradley Wyatt on Friday, July 8th, 2016, 11:30 AM PERMALINK


In May the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), with approval from the Obama Administration, proposed changes to federal rules that allow wind-energy companies to continue killing one of the great American symbols – bald eagles.

Within this rule, wind farms would be granted permits to kill up to 4,200 bald eagles per year, which is nearly four times the current limit. The proposed changes would also extend the time period for such permits from 5 to 30 years, six times what the law currently allows for wind farms.

According to the FWS, there are about 143,000 bald eagles and 40,000 golden eagles in the U.S. Under the proposed changes, wind farms could be allowed to kill up to 126,000 bald eagles during the life of the permit. This would be on top of reports that show 573,000 birds (88,000 of which are “raptors” such as eagles) and 888,000 bats are being killed each year by wind turbines, more than 30 percent higher than federal government estimates. While the estimate could change, wind farms are known for catching birds in their rotors.

One of the more troubling aspects is estimated deaths are likely low given a lack of reporting data. “We don’t really know how many birds are being killed now by wind turbines because the wind industry doesn’t have to report the data,” says Michael Hutchins of the American Bird Conservancy. Currently such data is considered a “trade secret.” This is especially concerning given that wind capacity has increased 20 percent in recent years, and is projected to triple if Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CCP) moves forward.

According to the Golden Gate Audubon Society, one of the biggest offenders is the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) in California. At APWRA, an estimated 75 to 110 Golden Eagles are killed by the wind turbines each year. In total, the nearly 6,000 lethal turbines spread out across 50,000 acres in northeastern Alameda and southeastern Contra Costa counties kill 4,700 birds annually.

FWS Director Dan Ashe said the new proposal will "provide a path forward" for maintaining eagle populations while also spurring development of new energy sources, which is a huge part of Obama's energy plan. Robert Bryce, Senior Fellow at The Manhattan Institute, noted that, “By exempting the wind industry from prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or the Eagle Protection Act, the federal government is providing another indirect subsidy to the sector.” The wind industry already receives hefty handouts from the government in the form of investment tax credits. 

The great irony is Obama has made environmental protection an important issue during his presidency, however Obama advocates for new energy sources, including wind turbines, which in return kill thousands of birds annually, including eagles. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States. Details within this report note that 35 percent of energy will be powered wind energy by 2050.

The theme that emerges from Obama’s tenure is that he is always willing to subject the country to endless negative externalities, such as skyrocketing energy costs from his CPP, so long as his “green” legacy is preserved. The Administration is now going to consider public comments on the thirty-year permits for wind farms and issue a final ruling on the issue by the end of the year.

 

Photo Credit: Jordan Confino

 

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Marshall Rosenthal

This is the outrage that this lame duck does for his wind power cronies. Kill off all the eagles for the next thirty years! Disgusting!

Greg Alvarez

Changes to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's eagle conservation rule are significantly misrepresented in this article. Direct from USFWS Director Dan Ashe:

"Contrary to published reports, proposed changes
to our Eagle Conservation and Management Program do not give wind
energy companies — or any other industry, organization or individual —
license to kill thousands of eagles each year without consequence. The
notion that we intend to permit the killing of more than 4,000 bald
eagles is wrong. Period. That number appears in our proposal only as a
scientific reference point that signals the “tipping point” at which our
biologists tell us overall eagle populations would be at risk.

In reality, our conservation proposal will reduce harm to bald and
golden eagles at a national and local scale. We’ve set very
conservative limits on eagle mortality (from all sources, not
just wind) to ensure healthy, sustainable populations. We require
mitigation for any golden eagle deaths that exceed those levels — in
addition to the conservation measures we impose in exchange for permits.

The truth is, thousands of eagles die every year for a variety of reasons — most from natural causes. The vast majority of human-caused deaths result from intentional poisoning and shooting — federal crimes that we aggressively investigate and prosecute. Most other eagle deaths are caused by collisions - with cars, buildings, power lines and other structures. Wind energy facilities represent a fraction of these deaths, and the media’s singular focus on wind turbines is a gross distortion of the truth.

Nearly all of these eagle deaths are not permitted, and many are unreported. That’s the real problem for our biologists."

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...


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