Archive for the ‘Oil Spill’ Category
Van Jones said that he and environmentalists stayed quiet during the BP oil disaster in 2010 because Barack Obama was president — and admitted he would have “been out there with a sign protesting” had George W. Bush or John McCain been occupying the White House.
Jones, Obama’s former green energy adviser, made the comments during a recent interview on C-SPAN’s Book TV:
“I’m critical of myself, first, and the environmentalists. When the oil spill that happened in the spring of 2010, there was another moment to say, ‘Hold on a second, let’s re-look at energy policy in America. Should we be subsidizing companies that are risking our health immediately and in the long-term?‘ We didn’t do it. You’ve never seen the environmental movement more quiet during an oil spill. I guarantee you, if John McCain had been president, with that oil spill, or George Bush had been president with that oil spill, I’d have been out there with a sign protesting. I didn’t, because of who the president was. Well, that’s a bad, uh, uh…that’s not good for the earth, it’s not good for the cause, it’s probably not good for the president. It’s certainly not the way we should conduct ourselves. And so, I’m very tough on progressive movements and leaders, including myself, who did not stand on principle, based on who we looked across and saw as president.” Source
It is completely foolish for Washington to be putting restraints on American coal. It is a domestic fuel, which we have abundantly, and could greatly reduce our reliance on unstable Middle Eastern countries. Our country currently runs on coal and should continue to do so for many decades. At one time coal was a dirty fuel; that is no longer the case, it is clean, cheap and efficient. It is and should continue far into the future to be our primary energy source.
It is prudent to expand use of other domestic resources as well – we are rich in natural gas and should fully exploit this resource. We should do all we can to increase domestic oil production. Looking to the long range future we need to continue to take advantage of hydro, wind, solar, and other renewable generation – however in the short term, the next twenty to forty years, wind and solar are not yet competitive and will not be able to provide what we need at the capacity required for many decades. They also require a lot of land, which more traditional plants do not.
The alternative method of generating energy that is currently fully feasible, efficient, and competitive is nuclear power, and it can make an impact in our power production within three years if we were to move forward with expanding our nuclear capacity.
Nuclear power is the cleanest, safest, most reliable method of generating electricity. Its process releases nothing into the land, air, or water. The power plants are expensive to build, but per square foot generate more power. They also require less expensive maintenance and repairs and have a much longer operating life. The biggest drawback to nuclear power is public perception, fueled by environmental scare tactics.
There have been only two major reactor accidents ever – one in the US and one in the Soviet Union. This is with over 14,000 cumulative commercial reactor-years world-wide. Because of poor design, poor fire preventive measures, and inadequate containment measures, Chernobyl power station in the Soviet Union was a disaster. The Soviets were notably careless with both safety and environmental factors in their design and operation of both nuclear power generation and naval reactors. By comparison, Three Mile Island, the only U.S. reactor accident ever, was contained without harm to anyone and with no impact on the environment. The U.S. has 104 operating nuclear power stations in 31 states.
In addition to power generation the U.S. has operated the largest fleet of nuclear powered ships in the world. They currently have in active service 80 nuclear powered ships, including 11 aircraft carriers. The Navy has accumulated more than 5400 years of accident free nuclear service.
There are some very misleading statistics in some anti-nuclear propaganda in which they list the number of nuclear accidents to be about three thousand per year. What they are calling nuclear accidents are actually industrial accidents at nuclear facilities, and there is a very important distinction between the two. A nuclear accident by definition is a failure for any reason of a nuclear reactor which releases radioactive isotopes; the two examples in the first paragraph are the only two nuclear accidents ever.
The large number of accidents reported, industrial accidents, are identical to industrial accidents in conventional power plants, mines, factories, construction, etc. Industrial accidents include those caused steam explosions, falls, shocks, falling objects, vehicle accidents, misapplication of tools, failure to wear personal protective equipment, and any other type of on-the-job injury or fatality. OSHA statistics show the truth is that the industrial accident rate in nuclear power plants is lower than conventional power plants; ten times lower than manufacturing, and less than half the rate of accidents in business offices. Furthermore, contrary to claims that aging nuclear plants are become more dangerous, NRC statistics show that their safety and reliability improve with time.
Another objection to nuclear power is the nuclear waste, spent uranium pellets. The fact is that this concern has already been addressed, and this waste will eventually be reprocessed reducing the amount of waste considerably, by these measures:
• Deep geologic repositories (easily expandable if needed)
• Greatly improved fuel reduces amount of waste
• Reprocessing of waste back into usable fuel
The waste is stored in one of two deep geologic repositories on existing military nuclear reservations in Nevada and New Mexico. In these the material is stored in solid rock below a dry isolated desert environment 1000 feet underground, and 1000 feet above the water table. At today’s rate of production there is already room in these for 10,000 years of production from our 104 power plants. Because these caverns are developed by conventional mining methods that capacity can easily be increased if ever needed.
The amount of waste created is actually very small. The total nuclear waste and its packaging (it’s stored in barrels) generated during the last forty years from all U.S. power plants, processing facilities, labs, and military waste would cover about one football field.
Europe Claims to have been reprocessing its nuclear waste for decades. Some dispute their claims, but most scientists believe it will eventually be perfected. This has several benefits. It reduces the amount of required waste storage. It greatly reduces the radioactive half-life of the waste. It uses existing uranium, reducing requirement for new mined mineral. In fact recycling the fuel in this way would reduce our current waste from nearly covering a football field to covering only 2.4 yards of the field – a 96.6% reduction in stored waste.
Every valid technical, safety, and environmental concern about nuclear power has been mitigated. We have the knowledge and body of experience to expand our usage safely and efficiently. Nuclear electricity should become, along with coal, a mainstay of our power industry.
Quite a stir has accompanied Patrick Moore, one of the founders of radical Greenpeace, saying global warming is a natural phenomenon, and further that politicians are using bad science to create bad environmental policies ( http://www.theblaze.com/stories/greenpe … l-warming/ ).
It is wonderful to see him break with the body of environmental dogma and make such a rational statement. Of course he will probably be excommunicated from membership in the Earth Worship Society, but in doing so he has become a martyr for the truth.
There is absolutely no question that the earth has been in a warming cycle for the last 12,500 years, starting with the end of the last ice-age. There is also no question that man, development of industry, and the use of fossil fuels had nothing whatsoever to do with that warming cycle.
Science, using Oxygen-Isotope Percent dating of core drilling samples, have identified six distinct global temperature cycles in which the earth cooled to an ice-age, then warmed to a tropical age. This six cycle period spans over 450,000 years. So the average cycle from a cold earth to a hot earth is 75,000 years.
Each of these cycles when represented on a chart are not smooth curves, but ragged with peaks and valleys of ten thousand or more year’s duration within both the cooling and heating phase; separate little mini-cycles that are still part of the predominant trend of the mega-cycle.
Viewed together this geological history makes it clear that:
1. Heating and cooling cycles were happening on earth long before man was even on the earth.
2. There is no way for science to determine exactly where we are in the current heating and cooling cycle.
3. All the weather and climate data that has been collected in the last 1000 years represents such a small sample compare the duration of mega-cycles, that they are useless for predicting anything but extremely short term and minor temperature change (and even then very questionable).
4. Even if we are able to establish a multi-century trend, there is no way for science to say whether that trend is one of the mini-cycles or part of a predominant mega-cycle.
5. Looking at the core samples over the most recent 5000 years, it actually looks like we have reached the bottom of the warming phase and are starting into the beginning of a cooling phase. However, even 5000 years of isotope dating is too short a time to establish a trend for the mega-cycle.
6. According to archeology, ancient history research, and carbon dating, man could not have influenced the last warming trend, because there was only a small population and no large scale civilization until the final third of that warming cycle.
Approximately four thousand years ago the Egyptian culture developed in the vicinity of the northern Nile River. This is considered the first large civilization which departed from a hunter/gatherer or simple agrarian economy, to include commercial endeavors in large scale agriculture, mining, manufacturing, sea trade, and development of technology.
For a reason science does not know, the cooling trends take from 50,000 to 100,000 thousand years to peak, but warming trends take less than 20,000 years. This has been true of all six of the mega–cycles.
Actually, if climate change could be influenced by anthropogenic greenhouse gasses, it might be a good idea to generate as large a volume of them as possible to slow the current rate of cooling and lesson the severity of the cooling peak. This would give man 50,000 years or so to figure out how to live with the natural mega-cycles of climate change. That said, it is unlikely that any anthropogenic product or activity has even the slightest effect on these mega-trends.
Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Michelle
Aug 16, 2010
Michelle Obama is a woman of her word. In July, she made a drive-by through the Gulf coast region and urged people to “do a few things [to] help this community.” Emphasis on the word “few.” She even recorded an ad inviting Americans to “come on down” to the Gulf as she herself then headed back to Washington to collect her family to head to a holiday in a national park in Maine. At least Maine is in America.
With her recent holiday junket to Spain, she has now officially spit in the eye of Gulf coast residents. Rather than vacation in the spill-ravaged region, her family headed overseas. Does Spain’s economy need stimulating? Perhaps so.
On vacation now, the Obamas will execute another 24 hours on the ground drive-by in the Gulf coast before heading to Martha’s Vineyard for 10 days. What gives? Why encourage Americans to stand by Gulf coast residents in solidarity and with vacation spending while you fail to do so yourself? In a word, hypocrisy. Like the chain-smoking parent telling the child, “Do as I say not as I do.” This lack of integrity may pass for average parenting, but it makes for extraordinarily poor leadership as a national icon.
In fact, Michelle Obama’s vacation to Spain raises all kinds of questions about judgment and leadership. I begrudge no one a vacation. The Obamas live under a microscope, and the office demands 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Feel free to vacation as often as you like. The requirements of the office will follow you. But use a little prudence in deciding how and when to vacation. Thus far, prudence is lacking in this White House couple, and hypocrisy abounds.
Her visit to Spain was wrong on at least five levels. Most obviously, why spend millions of tax-payer dollars (or borrowed Chinese yen to be exact) to provide Secret Service accommodations, personal transportation, and other expenses in someone else’s economy? Far better to choose a lovely American location and set the example of stimulating the American economy in your own personal way.
Second, as mentioned above, the stunning lack of Obama vacation time and money invested in the Gulf coast region leads to the obvious conclusion that the Obamas see themselves as different from the Americans they were elected to lead. “We’d like YOU to vacation in the Gulf and help these poor people. Meanwhile, WE will be in Spain. Please write us. We’d love to hear how it is going down there.”
Spending money (personal or public) on Mediterranean villas is beyond frivolous in an economy you yourself have described as the “worst since the Great Depression.” Mediterranean villas look frivolous to the 10% of Americans who are out of work. That’s because villas are frivolous, and they lead naturally to the comparison already drawn by media outlets: you are behaving like Marie Antoinette. “Let them eat cake,” although we know Michelle would never say that, given her strident efforts to rid the world of desserts and fatty foods.
Fourth, the taxpayer money you are spending on large Secret Service details to accompany you on Air Force Two to Europe is borrowed money. With a recent monthly deficit exceeding $140BB, the federal money supporting your boondoggle comes first from Chinese investors and then later from our children and grandchildren who will be paying interest and then the principal on your bill. Obscene.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, President Obama instructed the American people in January that we would all need to “sacrifice” and “give a little” as we make our way out of this recession. Fair enough, but where is the Obama sacrifice and giving? On the Mediterranean? Their record of personal charitable giving, as documented on their tax returns over the last decade, is the lowest of any presidential family in the last thirty years. Take away the Nobel Prize money, and their giving is embarrassingly small. In other words, the Obamas verbally champion their concern for the poor but choose not to give much of their own money to advance that cause. “While we vacation in Spain and at the Vineyard, please ask the peasants to populate the Gulf coast and to sacrifice a bit. Oh yes, and be sure someone takes care of the poor. See you in September.” Hypocrisy.
Florida Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum is leading the charge to protect states from an intrusive federal government.
By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
The Wall Street Journal
• AUGUST 6, 2010
“The brazen nature of this administration is undermining the basic rule of law, the confidence of the public, and taking away states’ authority—creating an ever stronger federal government. My role is to make clear we’re not going to put up with this.”
So says Bill McCollum, Florida’s attorney general, now vying to be governor of the Sunshine State. It wasn’t so very long ago that the job of a Republican governor was to promise lower spending, policies to encourage job growth, freedom in education, tax relief.
In the age of Obama, Republican governors and candidates are redefining their role to become defenders in chief against an overweening federal government that is siphoning away states’ power and crushing them with new costs.
That’s why 20 states are suing for the constitutional overthrow of ObamaCare. It’s why Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal threw in with a lawsuit to kill the federal drilling moratorium. It’s why Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is challenging federal immigration policies. It’s why 18 governors in March signed a letter demanding the Senate protect their states against EPA climate rules.
Democratic governors, too, have felt compelled to protect their citizens. The EPA letter was signed by West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Kentucky’s Steve Beshear. Oklahoma’s Brad Henry is scoring the administration for its “net neutrality” policies. Montana’s Brian Schweitzer and Wyoming’s Dave Freudenthal both signed laws curtailing federal power over firearms.
Florida attorney general and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum is leading the charge to protect states from an intrusive federal government.
Mr. McCollum is perhaps the brightest example of this expansive shift in thinking. The flighty leadership of (formerly Republican) Gov. Charlie Crist, has, over the years, cast Mr. McCollum as a de facto head of his party’s more principled wing. He was the most visible state politician, for instance, to oppose the stimulus bill and early on he warned Congress that its health bill was likely an unconstitutional affront to the states.
When Democrats thumbed their noses, Mr. McCollum began assembling attorneys general to join him in litigation designed to bring down the law in its totality. He filed suit minutes after the president signed the bill.
Talk to Mr. McCollum and he will reel off an exhaustive list of recent mandates and laws that are sapping state powers. In addition to health care, Mr. McCollum has filed a brief in Arizona’s immigration fight, argued against the $20 billion federal oil fund that strips his office of its ability to work with BP on local claims, and demanded from the feds more authority to tackle Medicaid fraud.
He’s waged these fights in the effort to preserve state officials’ ability to govern effectively, though in the process he’s tapped into a deep voter discontent with Washington. Mr. McCollum is in a bitter primary fight with Rick Scott. The businessman has been relatively short on policy proposals, but way long on money. He’s spent a record-shattering $25 million of his own running ads casting the race as an outsider versus a “career politician.” The fact that Mr. McCollum is still swinging, despite being outspent 5 to 1, is partly due to his defense of Florida against Washington.
Only last week the Florida Chamber of Commerce—representing 140,000 state businesses—endorsed Mr. McCollum; one reason was his fight against health care. That fight has even earned the “career politician” the backing of activist groups seeking to put on the ballot a constitutional amendment allowing Floridians to opt out the federal health law, and of tea party leaders such as Dick Armey.
The McCollum stance has become so defining that in a recent debate among candidates vying to succeed him as attorney general the fight was over who would continue his lawsuit. Mr. Scott has been forced to support the litigation. And it has allowed both Republicans to paint Democratic candidate Alex Sink—who opposes the suit—as a Washington handmaiden.
Democrats have in return pounded Mr. McCollum, calling his health-care suit a political stunt on the taxpayer dime. This is somewhat amusing coming from a party whose own view of an attorney general’s duties consists of legally torpedoing companies, sharing the booty with trial lawyers, and using the recycled donation proceeds for re-election.
Mr. McCollum has brushed off the criticism of his lawsuit, noting that the cost of the handful of lawyers in the attorney general’s office working on this issue pales in comparison to the costs ObamaCare would impose on Florida.
This is in fact the heart of the McCollum argument. The federal Medicaid program, he notes, could soon be eating up 36% of Florida’s budget—and that’s before ObamaCare’s new costs. Federal health, education, environmental and labor mandates are chipping away at the states’ ability to keep their taxes low, to grow jobs, and to devote money to their own priorities.
The backlash extends beyond Florida. A whopping 39 gubernatorial elections will be held in November; in nearly all, candidates—and not just Republicans—are running on promises to fight the Washington power grab. “This is a wake-up call,” says Mr. McCollum. “It’s a defining issue of today.”