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OBAMA AND ENERGY / ENVIRONMENT

OBAMA AND ENERGY / ENVIRONMENT
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Obama's “Global Warming” Alarmism

  • Barack Obama is unambiguous in maintaining that human industrial activity causes global warming. As his 2008 presidential campaign declared: “Global warming is real, is happening now and is the result of human activities. The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years. Glaciers are melting faster; the polar ice caps are shrinking; trees are blooming earlier; oceans are becoming more acidic, threatening marine life; people are dying in heat waves; species are migrating, and eventually many will become extinct. Scientists predict that absent major emission reductions, climate change will worsen famine and drought in some of the poorest places in the world and wreak havoc across the globe. In the U.S., sea-level rise threatens to cause massive economic and ecological damage to our populated coastal areas.”


The Truth about Global Warming

  • The geophysicist Fred Singer points out that: “The Earth's climate has never been steady; it has either warmed or cooled—without any human intervention—since the dawn of time. The measured variations have often been larger and more rapid than those currently predicted by climate models for the year 2100. In the last 3,000 years, temperatures in the North Atlantic have changed by as much as 3°C within a few decades.... None of the climate models incorporate the effects of a variable sun. It has always been assumed that solar variability is simply too small, but this view is now changing. Evidence shows that solar winds and sunspots can affect the earth's ozone layer and influence atmospheric circulation or cloudiness—which in turn can cause significant climate changes.... As for the association of climate change with atmospheric greenhouse gases, on the time-scale of hundreds of millions of years, carbon dioxide (CO2) has sharply declined; its concentration was as much as 20 times the present value at the beginning of the Cambrian Period, 600 million years ago. Moreover, glaciations have occurred throughout geologic time even when CO2 concentrations were high.”
  • As of mid-2008, no fewer than 31,000 U.S. scientists had signed a petition rejecting the assumption that the human production of greenhouse gases was damaging Earth's climate.
  • In late November 2009, the so-called “Climategate” scandal cast grave doubt on the intellectual integrity of those leading the effort to spread fear about the alleged dangers of global warming. At the heart of the controversy was the discovery that a number of leading American and British climatologists who held that mankind's industrial activity was causing a dangerous warming trend in the earth's atmosphere, had intentionally manipulated the evidence in order to provide “proof” that their warnings were justified. The scientists' deceptions were found out when hundreds of their private email messages and documents were obtained and publicized by computer hackers.
  • In October 2012, it was reported that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there had been no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures. A the Daily Mail explained: “This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years.”


Obama Opposes Oil Drilling in Alaska's ANWR Region

As a U.S. Senator, Obama voted against permitting the United States to drill for oil and natural gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), a 19.6-million-acre area situated in the top northeast corner of Alaska, just north of the Arctic Circle and about 1,300 miles south of the North Pole. He continues to oppose drilling in ANWR, asserting that such a measure would despoil a pristine natural wonderland.


The Truth About ANWR

  • The portion of ANWR where drilling would occur consists of just 2,000 acres, or one-one hundredth of 1% of ANWR's total expanse. Moreover, it is a barren, frozen wasteland for much of the year. During its eight-month winter, temperatures drop as low as 70 degrees below zero. The region is shrouded in near-total darkness for five months, and for 56 days there is no sunlight at all. No trees live in this inhospitable region, and wildlife is present for only about six weeks each year.
  • Opponents of drilling warn that local caribou populations would suffer mass death as a result of any industrial intrusion by man. The same was said in the 1970s by opponents of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (TAP), which became operative in 1977 and now transports heated oil south from Prudhoe Bay (located about 100 miles west of Area 1002). TAP is the most environmentally responsible oil field in the world. After TAP's inception, the caribou population in its vicinity increased from about 3,000 in the 1970s to more than 32,000 in 2009; animals have actively sought out, and thrived in, the heat radiating from the oil pipes. Not a single wildlife species has decreased in population at Prudhoe Bay since TAP became part of the landscape.


Just Make Sure “Your Tires Are Properly Inflated”

  • At a July 30, 2008 campaign stop in Missouri, Obama said: “There are things that you can do individually ... to save energy; making sure your tires are properly inflated, simple thing, but we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off [from] drilling, if everybody was just inflating their tires and getting regular tune-ups. You could actually save just as much.”


Obama and the Demise of the Coal Industry

  • In January 2008 Obama said the following about the future of the coal industry, which currently accounts for half of all the electricity produced in America: “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can, It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” Added Obama: “When I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, you know, under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”
  • In late March 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule that would limit carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants. No coal-fired power plant would be able to meet the emission limit (1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of power produced), but natural gas-fired power plants could. If passed, this rule would ensure that no new, modern coal-fired power plants would be built in the United States.


Obama's Energy Secretary Reiterates His Support for High Gas Prices

  • In 2008, Obama's energy secretary, Steven Chu, advocated steep rises in gasoline prices as a means of coaxing Americans into being more fuel-efficient and purchasing green energy cars: “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe” (i.e., approximately $10 per gallon). In March 2011, Chu reiterated his support for high gasoline prices: “What I’m doing since I became secretary of Energy has been quite clear. What I have been doing is developing methods to take the pain out of high gas prices. We have been very focused in the Department of Energy on that. And, in fact, the entire administration has been very focused on that.”


Cap-and-Trade: An Energy Tax on
Everyone

  • In a February 2009 speech to Congress, President Obama called for the implementation of a cap-and-trade environmental plan designed to reduce carbon emissions. The cap-and-trade legislation (known officially as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, or the Waxman-Markey bill, in honor of its congressional sponsors) would have established an economy-wide cap on carbon emissions and then permitted companies to buy or sell emission “credits.”
  • Robert Murphy, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism, explained the mechanism by which cap-and-trade would impose costs on the American public: “Under a cap-and-trade scheme, the government sets an absolute cap on how much carbon dioxide industries can emit in the United States, and it enforces this cap by selling a limited number of allowances. All of the operations (utilities, factories, etc.) covered by the law must turn in the appropriate number of allowances based on how much carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere each year. The government gets its revenues from auctioning off these allowances to the highest bidder.”
  • The ultimate result of cap-and-trade would be carbon rationing, since there would be a fixed number of carbon allowances available to American businesses as a whole. Such rationing would raise the operating costs of many businesses, which in turn would pass those costs on to their customers. According to the Heritage Foundation, the average American household would incur additional costs ranging from $1,870 to $6,970 per year. An MIT study placed the figure at $3,100. A March 2009 U.S. Treasury Department document said “a cap and trade program could generate federal receipts on the order of $100 to $200 billion annually.” That is the equivalent of raising personal income taxes by approximately 15%, or $1,761 a year, per household.
  • In 2008, candidate Obama readily acknowledged that cap-and-trade would impose significantly higher energy costs on Americans of all income levels: “[U]nder my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”
  • Because cap-and-trade proposals became extremely unpopular with the American public in 2009, the legislation was never passed by the Senate and thus did not become law, thereby preventing Obama from imposing an enormous tax on the American people.
  • Thus rebuffed by Congress, Obama next sought to impose cap-and-trade by circumventing the legislative process and imposing cap-and-trade through edicts by his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As the Washington Post reported in August 2011: “Over the next 18 months, the Environmental Protection Agency will finalize a flurry of new rules to curb pollution from coal-fired power plants. Mercury, smog, ozone, greenhouse gases, water intake, coal ash—it’s all getting regulated.... Industry groups such the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, and the American Legislative Exchange Council have dubbed the coming rules 'EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck.' The regulations, they say, will cost utilities up to $129 billion and force them to retire one-fifth of coal capacity. Given that coal provides 45 percent of the country’s power, that means higher electric bills, more blackouts and fewer jobs.”
  • Heritage Foundation report states that cap-and-trade, if pursued unilaterally by the United States, “would moderate temperatures by only hundredths of a degree in 2050 and no more than two-tenths of a degree at the end of the century.” In other words, the bill would extract trillions of dollars out of the U.S. economy in exchange for a benefit so small as to be—even in a best-case scenario—wholly imperceptible. Said the same report: “A multilateral approach would not fare much better. In the case of international cooperation, India, China, and the rest of the developing world would have to revert to their 2000 levels of CO2 emissions by 2050. On a per-capita basis, China would backtrack to about one-tenth of what the U.S. emitted in 2000. India and most of the developing world would have to drop to even lower levels. This scenario, in addition to being highly unlikely, would de-develop the developing world.” The issue of multilateralism was moot, however. China and India hadve long maintained that they have no intention of abiding by the regulations of any cap-and-trade schemes.


Obama's O
pposition to U.S. Oil Drilling

  • On March 31, 2010, President Obama announced that he would open the door to oil drilling off Virginia's coast, in other parts of the mid- and south Atlantic, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and in waters off Alaska. At the same time, he declared off-limits the waters off the West Coast and in Alaska's Bristol Bay, canceled four scheduled lease sales in Alaska and called for more study before allowing new lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Steve Everly of American Solutions.com put Obama's announcement in context: “The plan is defined more by what it restricts than what it opens up.... No drilling in the Pacific Ocean. No drilling in a large portion of the Atlantic Ocean. No drilling in some of the most promising areas of the Gulf of Mexico. No drilling in much of Alaska.... When Congress voted in 2008 not to extend the ban on offshore drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf [OCS], they did not choose to keep a ban on Pacific waters, nor did they intend for a de facto ban to remain in effect in the OCS for at least another four years. What Congress did through legislative action, acting in accordance with the public will, the President has undone with the stroke of a pen.”
  • On April 20, 2010, the disastrous BP/Deepwater Horizon oil leak began to spew thousands of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico on a daily basis. In a report which he issued on May 27, 2010, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recommended a six-month moratorium on all deepwater drilling—notwithstanding the fact that five out of seven consulting engineers stated that such drilling had a strong safety record, and that targeted inspections would be more sensible than a blanket moratorium.
  • In June 2010, federal judge Martin Feldman of Louisiana ordered Salazar and the Obama administration to to lift their “arbitrary and capricious, and therefore, unlawful” ban on offshore drilling in the Gulf. The following month, when a U.S. Court of Appeals denied the administration's bid to put a hold on Feldman's order, the Interior Secretary promptly concocted a second, “revised” moratorium to replace the one Feldman had nullified. Though Salazar officially “lifted” this second ban three months thereafter, he would issue no additional permits that year. Rather, in 2010 he actually rescinded 77 oil-lease contracts that had previously been granted—after seven full years of rigorous study and debate—during the final days of the Bush administration. Federal courts repeatedly scolded Salazar and the Obama administration for their “determined disregard” of judicial orders and their “increasingly inexcusable” action on stalled deepwater drilling projects, to no effect.
  • In February 2011, Judge Feldman—complaining that the Obama administration’s “time delays at issue here are unreasonable”—ordered Salazar and the President to decide within a month whether they would grant a set of five permits for deepwater drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico. Obama and Salazar chose not to comply for several weeks, and instead issued yet another request to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay of Feldman's order. Finally, in March 2011 Salazar gave the Shell Offshore Company permission to apply for drilling permits for three new exploratory wells off the Louisiana coast.


Obama Funds Brazilian Oil-Drilling Venture

  • In late August 2009, President Obama agreed to lend $2 billion to Brazil’s quasi-public national oil company, Petrobras, to fund its exploration and drilling of 270 sites in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the richest oil fields in the world (where environmentalist objections had historically thwarted any drilling proposals by U.S. companies). Petrobras is headed by José Sergio Gabrielli, a socialist member of Brazil’s leftist Workers’ Party. Brazil’s socialist government holds 40% of Petrobras’ shares of stock. The government of China also owns a significant stake in Petrobras.
  • Brazil was not the only country preparing to drill for oil in the Gulf region. China, India, Norway, Spain, and Russia, to name a few, had also signed agreements with countries bordering the Gulf, such as Cuba and the Bahamas, authorizing them to initiate exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico.


Obama's False Claims about U.S. Oil and Gas Production under His Watch

  • During his January 24, 2012 State of the Union Speech, President Obama took credit for the highest levels of natural gas production in more than 30 years and the highest levels of oil production in eight years. But these increases had nothing whatsoever to do with Obama's policies. A non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) report released in March 2012 revealed that fully 96 percent of the increase in oil production had occurred on private land, not on land owned or controlled by the federal government.
  • According to a January 2012 Heritage Foundation report, oil and natural gas production on federal lands was down by more than 40% compared to a decade earlier. Under the Obama administration, fewer onshore leases were issued in 2010 than in any year since 1984.


Obama's Ass
ault on the Oil and Gas Industries

  • Obama seeks to raise taxes on the oil industry by denying it access to tax credits available to other industries. As the Heritage Foundation points out, the same tax treatment is extended to producers of clothing, roads, electricity, water, and many other manufactured goods; in fact, oil companies receive less of a tax break (6%) than those manufacturers (9%). In short, Obama's condemnation of oil company profits is nothing more than populist rhetoric.
  • The Heritage Foundation adds: “When President Obama lashes out at 'Big Oil,' guess who’s going to pay the price? You. First, raising taxes on any company means that the costs will be passed on to consumers.... Second, when the president talks about 'Big Oil,' keep in mind who 'Big Oil' is—it could very well be you. Thirty-one percent of U.S. oil and natural gas shares are owned by public or private pension plans. On top of that, individual retirement accounts hold 18 percent of shares, individual investors have 21 percent, and asset management companies including mutual funds account for 21 percent—comprising more than 90 percent of oil and gas stocks in 2011. That means when those companies profit, there’s a good chance you profit. And when those companies suffer, there’s a good chance that you suffer, too.”


Obama Limits Oil Shale Exploration

  • On November 9, 2012 -- three days after Obama's reelection as president -- the administration's Interior Department announced its plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West originally slated (by the Bush administration) for oil shale development. Interior’s Bureau of Land Management cited environmental concerns for the proposed changes. For example, it excised lands with “wilderness characteristics” and areas that infringed on sage grouse habitats. The plan left 677,000 acres in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming open for oil shale exploration, and called for another 130,000 acres in Utah to be set aside for tar sands production.

Obama's Assault on the Coal Industry

On May 3, 2013, the Daily Caller reported:

"New analysis shows that the coal industry is in for some tough years ahead, as more than 280 coal-fired generating units are slated to be shut down in part due to stricter Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a partnership of industry groups, reports that the number of coal plants slated for shutdown is fives times greater than the EPA predicted would be forced to shut down due to its regulations. Coal-fired electric generating plants will be shut down across 32 states, with the hardest hit states being Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Indiana, according to the coalition....

"The list of coal plants slated for shutdown has been expanding rapidly since last summer when the Energy Information Administration estimated that 175 coal-fired generators — 8.5 percent of the U.S.’s coal-fired capacity — would be retired in the coming years due to declining demand for electricity and stricter environmental regulations.... [N]new environmental regulations have continually made it less economical to build coal plants.

"The EPA’s now-delayed new emissions limits rule for power plants essentially bans the construction of new coal-fired power plants. The rule would limit newly built power plant carbon dioxide emissions to 1,000 pounds-per-megawatt-hour, which only combined-cycle power plants that are powered by natural gas are able to comply with. Coal plants can comply by with the new emissions rule by using carbon capture and sequestration technology that is not commercially viable.

"Environmentalists have also taken aim at coal plants around the country. The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign has a goal of retiring one-third of the more than 500 U.S. coal plants by 2020 and replacing the majority of them with green energy power from wind, solar, and geothermal."


The “Green Energy” Disaster: Solyndra, etc.

  • Between 2009 and 2012, Obama pumped $90 billion of taxpayer money into green energy initiatives, most of which failed because they could not compete in the energy marketplace. This included, most famously, $535 million that was fast-tracked to the solar panel company Solyndra. A major Solyndra investor, billionaire George Kaiser, was a big Obama donor and one of the president's campaign fundraising “bundlers.”
  • It was obvious, from the outset, that Solyndra was a risky investment. As early as 2008, Fitch Ratings assigned the company a mediocre B+ credit rating, and Dun & Bradstreet assessed its credit as “fair.” In March 2010, the accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers observed that Solyndra “has suffered recurring losses from operations, negative cash flows since inception and has a net stockholders’ deficit that, among other factors, raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.” Yet two months later, Obama told an audience of Solyndra employees that “the future is here.” A month after that, Solyndra withdrew a scheduled Initial Public Offering, despite being informed by auditors that the company would not survive even a year if it failed to raise the $300 million it was seeking.
  • In late October 2010, Solyndra was ready to announce that it would have to lay off many of ts workers. But the Obama administration pushed the company “very hard” to delay that announcement until November 3—the day after the midterm elections where Democrats were in danger of losing control of the House of Representatives. Solyndra complied, and waited until November 3 to make its announcement.
  • In July 2011, Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison went to Washington, DC to tell lawmakers that his company was in a “strong financial position.” Two weeks later, the company closed its doors, laid off 1,100 workers and filed for bankruptcy.


Other Federally Funded “Green Energy” Debacles

  • Amonix Solar: In July 2012, this Las Vegas-based manufacturing plant—subsidized by more than $20 million in federal tax credits and grants awarded by the Obama administration—permanently shuttered its operations a year after it had opened.
  • Solar Trust of America: This company filed for bankruptcy on April 3, 2012.
  • Bright Source: Though this solar-power company has already lost billions of dollars, the Obama administration continues to pump money into it.
  • LSP Energy: This electricity producer filed for bankruptcy protection and a sale of its assets in February 2012.
  • Energy Conversion Devices: This renewable-energy company and its subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy on February 14, 2012.
  • Abound Solar: Soon after receiving a $400 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration, this solar-panel company announced in June 2012 that it would file for bankruptcy. A major investor in Abound Solar was Bohemian Companies, whose founder, Democratic mega-donor Pat Stryker, had not only donated $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund, but had also contributed $50,000 for Obama’s 2008 inauguration and bundled another 87,000 for that event.
  • SunPower: This company stopped producing solar cells in 2011, when it was near bankruptcy.
  • Beacon Power: This energy company filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2011, just a year after Obama had approved a $43 million government loan guarantee.
  • Ecotality: This San Francisco-based green-technology company received approximately $115 million in loan guarantees from President Obama, though it has never turned a profit and sits on the precipice of bankruptcy.
  • A123 Systems: This lithium battery manufacturer, backed by $249 million in subsidies from the Obama administration, filed for bankruptcy on October 16, 2012.
  • UniSolar: This company filed for bankruptcy on June 20, 2012 after laying off hundreds of employees. Obama then awarded it additional money, but it continues to operate at a huge loss.
  • Azure Dynamics: After the Obama administration gave this electric- and hybrid-vehicle company millions of dollars in “stimulus” funds as well as tax abatements and tax credits, this company filed for bankruptcy in June 2012.
  • Evergreen Solar: After receiving $527 million in taxpayer funds from the Obama administration, this company laid off some 1,800 workers in early 2011. Later that year, it filed for bankruptcy.
  • Ener1: This electric-car battery manufacturer received a $118 million grant from Obama's Energy Department, then defaulted on debt and filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2012.


Commitment to the Fight Against “Global Warming

  • During his second inaugural address as president on January 21, 2013, the newly re-elected Obama emphasized his commitment to pursuing “green energy” as a means of addressing the threat of global warming: “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But American cannot resist this transition. We must lead it.”


Obama Prepares to Roll out Sweeping Climate Regulations

On November 11, 2014, Politico reported that "the Obama administration is set to roll out a series of climate and pollution measures that rivals any president’s environmental actions of the past quarter-century ... sweeping executive actions to combat global warming.... The coming rollout includes a Dec. 1 proposal by EPA to tighten limits on smog-causing ozone, which business groups say could be the costliest federal regulation of all time; a final rule Dec. 19 for clamping down on disposal of power plants’ toxic coal ash; the Jan. 1 start date for a long-debated rule prohibiting states from polluting the air of their downwind neighbors; and a Jan. 8 deadline for issuing a final rule restricting greenhouse gas emissions from future power plants."


Climate Accord with China

  • On November 12, 2014, President Obama, who was in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, reached a "climate change" agreement (limiting "greenhouse gas emissions") with Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal would require the U.S. to "double the average pace of its carbon-dioxide reductions after 2020, eyeing an overall reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions of between 26% and 28% by 2025, compared with 2005 levels." China, meanwhile, would continue to increase its emissions for 15 years before capping them in 2030. Said Obama: "We hope to encourage all major economies to be ambitious -- all countries, developing and developed -- to work across some of the old divides, so we can conclude a strong global climate agreement next year."


Obama Imposes Stricter Emissions Limits on Power Plants


In early August 2015 -- a year after having proposed unprecedented carbon dioxide limits on power plants across the United States -- the Obama administration announced that it would be imposing cuts that were even steeper than previously expected (32% below 2005 levels, rather than 30% below 2005 levels). These new restrictions would need to be met by 2022. "Climate change is not a problem for another generation," said Obama. "Not anymore."

Obama Evades the Treaty Process to Sign On to the Paris Climate Accord

In December 2015, President Obama made the U.S. a part of the Paris Climate Accord. By so doing, he bypassed the Treaty provision of the U.S. Constitution, and unilaterally usurped the power of the Senate. As the Washington Times has explained:

The mainstream media has tortured the truth in reporting on President Donald Trump’s renunciation of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. It’s been called a treaty, but it was nothing of the sort. Instead, it was a unilateral act by President Obama that had no basis in the U.S. Constitution.

That’s not to say that the agreement wasn’t a treaty, and therefore something that required Senate ratification by a two-thirds majority, under the Constitution’s Treaty Clause (Art. I, § 2, cl. 2). That’s how the Framers of the Constitution understood the Clause. Here’s Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 75:

“The power of making treaties…relates neither to the execution of the subsisting laws, nor to the enaction of new ones; and still less to an exertion of the common strength. Its objects are CONTRACTS with foreign nations, which have the force of law, but derive it from the obligations of good faith. They are not rules prescribed by the sovereign to the subject, but agreements between sovereign and sovereign.”

The Paris agreement is also a treaty as defined by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, i.e., “an international agreement concluded between [two or more] States in written form and governed by international law….” 

So why does Senate confirmation matter? The Framers wisely believed that it would be unsafe to give one man alone the power to bind the country through a treaty. Again, here’s Hamilton in Federalist 75:

“[A] man raised from the station of a private citizen to the rank of chief magistrate, possessed of a moderate or slender fortune, and looking forward to a period not very remote when he may probably be obliged to return to the station from which he was taken, might sometimes be under temptations to sacrifice his duty to his interest, which it would require superlative virtue to withstand. An avaricious man might be tempted to betray the interests of the state to the acquisition of wealth. An ambitious man might make his own aggrandizement, by the aid of a foreign power, the price of his treachery to his constituents. The history of human conduct does not warrant that exalted opinion of human virtue which would make it wise in a nation to commit interests of so delicate and momentous a kind, as those which concern its intercourse with the rest of the world, to the sole disposal of a magistrate created and circumstanced as would be a President of the United States.”

Of course, presidents don’t like going to the Senate for approval of their pet projects. Back in 1998 Bill Clinton signed the Kyoto Treaty on global warming without submitting it to the Senate for ratification. He knew that, if he did so, the treaty would be DOA.... 

Mr. Obama’s signing of the Paris Climate Accord had no more constitutional standing than the currency of the Confederate States of America... 

The Paris Agreement, moreover, is a hoax. It is to global warming what the Kellogg-Briand Pact was to international peace: sound and fury signifying nothing. The Agreement doesn’t create a means to verify that signatory nations are accurately reporting greenhouse gas emissions or enforcing limitations. China is in a pollution league by itself accounting for 30 percent of worldwide emissions. The United States is a distant second at 15 percent. While the mainstream media swoons over China’s professed commitment to renewable energy, it under-reports that air pollution masks in Beijing are necessary to survive, and that more than 1 million Chinese die annually from contaminated air.               

Said Obama: "The Paris agreement establishes the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis. It creates the mechanism, the architecture, for us to continually tackle this problem in an effective way." "I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world," Obama added, calling the agreement "the best chance we have to save the one planet that we've got."


Obama Uses his executive authority to impose new permanent bans on offshore drilling

On December 20, 2016, The Los Angeles Times reported:

Invoking a rarely used provision in federal law, the Obama administration on Tuesday announced a permanent ban on offshore drilling in broad parts of the Arctic and Atlantic coasts — a sweeping and controversial move that will help secure the president’s environmental legacy even as critics vowed to reverse it.

The ban relies on the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953, which says the president “may, from time to time, withdraw” federal waters from oil and gas development that are not already leased. It was announced as part of a joint action with Canada, where Prime Minister 
Justin Trudeau also made long-term, though not permanent, commitments to protect the Arctic from drilling.

Obama cited the Arctic’s “unique ecosystem,” the risk of damage from a spill, the high cost of working in the remote and frigid region and concerns about climate change.
It would take decades to fully develop the production infrastructure necessary for any large-scale oil and gas leasing production in the region – at a time when we need to continue to move decisively away from fossil fuels,” the president said in a written statement.

The announcement, coming one month to the day before Obama is to be succeeded by President-elect Donald Trump, is intended to help counter plans by the incoming administration to vastly expand energy extraction by fossil fuel companies....

Past presidents, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, have invoked the law to issue temporary bans. Obama’s action appears to be the first time the law has been used to impose a permanent drilling ban – and it is almost certain to be challenged.

A senior administration official said Tuesday that the White House was “quite confident” that the decision could not be undone by Trump, noting that the law specifies no provision for reversal. The official suggested that overturning the ban could require years of legal action and the passage of a bill in Congress.

Some oil industry leaders said they believed the next administration could easily reverse it. They cited a 2008 memorandum by President George W. Bush that lifted a temporary ban in certain offshore areas imposed by President Clinton.
Fortunately, there is no such thing as a permanent ban, and we look forward to working with the new administration on fulfilling the will of American voters on energy production,” wrote Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute. Yet environmental groups say the 2008 reversal left intact other permanent changes Clinton made.

Under the 1953 law, a presidential order that explicitly states that it is intended to be permanent, and is designed to address an “articulated purpose,” would likely stand up to legal challenges, lawyers for two conservation groups, Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council, wrote in a legal brief on the issue last month....

The administration emphasized that oil and gas exploration have thrived in other parts of the country at far less expense. While the Arctic is believed to hold vast reserves, it currently provides 0.1% of the nation’s crude oil production. None of the companies that hold the 42 active leases in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea is currently pursuing drilling....

The announcement includes a ban on drilling in large parts of the Atlantic, from New England to the Chesapeake Bay, where the U.S. administration is seeking to protect underwater canyons, some deeper than the Grand Canyon. Many are what scientists call biodiversity “hot spots,” providing homes to corals, beaked whales, fish, sponges and crabs. Officials say preserving the canyons will ensure better health for commercial fish populations.

But the big news was in the Arctic, long a stage for conservation battles. While 3.8 million acres are being protected in the Atlantic, 115 million are set aside in the Arctic. The ban there includes all of the Chukchi Sea and the vast majority of the Beaufort off the coast of Alaska, leaving out a portion near state waters and the onshore drilling fields of the North Slope. That area, the administration noted, includes known oil reserves, and its proximity to existing infrastructure and spill-response equipment somewhat reduces risks of serious damage from a drilling mishap.

That area already had not been designated for leasing in the federal government’s upcoming five-year program for the Outer Continental Shelf, which begins in 2017. Just last month, the administration said it would not sell new leases for drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic through 2022. That announcement also blocked expansion in the Pacific, leaving the Gulf of Mexico as the primary offshore production area.

 

 

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