Thursday, July 20, 2017

EPA

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Paris, we have a problem.

Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview on MSNBC on Thursday, that President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord “puts America last.”

“It is a shameful moment for the United States, to have unilaterally walked away from an agreement which did not have one other country requiring us to do something,” Kerry said.

“It was a voluntary program … The president was not truthful with the American people today, and the president who talked about putting America first, has now put America last.”

He claimed that Trump “is not helping the forgotten American,” Kerry said. “He is hurting them. Their kids will have worse asthma in the summer. They will have a harder time having economic growth. He’s made us an environmental pariah in the world, and I think it is one of the most self-destructive moves I’ve ever seen by any president in my lifetime.”

However, things seem to be little different, as Daniel Simmons, the vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research stated, “Air quality has been increasing, pollution has been decreasing, things are getting better and asthma’s getting worse,” Simmons said. “You have this disconnect.”

  1. Sterling Burnett, a research fellow in climate and energy issues for The Heartland Institute, noted in a recent article that, “Numerous studies, including a NERA Economic Consulting report cited in Trump’s announcement, showed meeting the carbon-dioxide targets imposed on the United States under the Paris agreement would force the premature closing of many of the nation’s least-expensive power plants. NERA estimated meeting the nation’s obligations under the agreement would cost the U.S. economy nearly $3 trillion, and by 2040, the United States would have lost 6.5 million industrial-sector jobs, including 3.1 million manufacturing jobs.”

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Hey boss, come look at this!

With workers who reportedly drink, watch porn, and smoke marijuana at work, the Environmental Protection Agency has been perforated with employee misconduct.

For EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who is now looking forward to layoff at least 25 percent of the 15,000 employees at the government agency, inspector general reports from the past few years detailing the employee misconduct could serve as ammunition.

According to the US government’s own calculations, when it was on the verge of a shutdown back in 2013, only 6.5 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s employees are “essential.”

The most infamous case regarding misconduct at the EPA was of an official who earned up to $120,000 excluding performance bonuses after being caught watching porn at work, for almost six hours a day.

EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation reportedly had a geologist who admitted to downloading over 7,000 porn files on an agency server. He even admitted to masturbating at work. However, in return, he received paid leave for nearly two years after being caught red-handed.

The inspector general reported to Congress last year that this was not the only such incident at the agency. Another employee was suspended days after confessing that he had “watched pornography regularly at work for the past several years.” The inspector elaborated that this employee’s punishment was that he could no longer telework or “attach any unauthorized external drive devices to a government computer.”

EPA has also been found to employ convicted child molesters. This includes an employee who was paid $55,000 by the EPA, to retire, because his employers could not fire him.

Several other EPA employees have been caught drinking and growing marijuana at work. In 2015, an employee was arrested for attempting to bring “three grams of marijuana and two marijuana pipes through the security checkpoint at an Internal Revenue Service facility in Denver, Colorado.” The inspector general further said that the employee only received a conviction of 20 hours of community service, a $2,500 fine and a 21-day suspension.

After discovering that another EPA employee had a “marijuana growing operation in her residence,” she was only placed on a seven-month administrative leave before retiring in 2014.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s mission is to curtail EPA’s workforce by 25 percent and cut its budget down to $5.7 billion.

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Is someone calling this kettle black?

The Trump administration is being accused of racism for cutting a wasteful program that’s given leftist groups tens of millions of dollars to help poor, minority and indigenous communities attain “environmental justice.” The initiative was launched under Barack Obama’s first Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief, Lisa Jackson, to help low-income populations obtain the same degree of protection from health and environmental hazards as wealthy communities. Over the years, heaps of taxpayer dollars have filled the coffers of leftwing groups—including some dedicated to helping illegal immigrants—that teach black, Latino and indigenous folks how to recycle, reduce carbon emissions through “weatherization” and participate in “green jobs.”

The cash flowed freely through the EPA’s special environmental justice office, which the Trump administration plans to get rid of as part of a broader budget cut for the famously bloated agency. This is great news for American taxpayers who were forced to fund this nonsense. Judicial Watch has reported extensively on the EPA’s environmental justice boondoggle and exposed the atrocities that occurred under the reckless initiative. Here are some examples of how the money was used; to teach residents of public housing about recycling, seniors to reduce their “carbon footprint,” inner city neighborhoods about “climate-change readiness” and middle school students with a “disparate economic and racial/ethnic composition” how to “identify and mitigate air pollution and solid waste disposal issues.” Low-income public school students were taught asthma self-management skills, poor minorities got asthma-friendly homes and a New Jersey group called Lazos America Unida that helps Mexican immigrants got money to create a “lead-safe backyard gardening” program to protect members from the risks associated with gardening in lead contaminated soil.

Another environmental justice grant recipient, a migrant farm workers’ group in Missouri, used its taxpayer dollars to explain symbols and key words on television weather advisories and to “increase awareness about the dangers of sun and heat exposure” in migrant communities. Other leftist groups used their environmental justice cash to educate migrant workers from Mexico and Guatemala about “pesticide exposure” risks and to help the poor “evaluate toys and find out about toy recalls.” The list of ludicrous programs funded by the EPA’s environmental justice office goes on and on. The Obama administration also forced virtually every major government agency—including the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Agriculture, Justice, Health and Labor—to participate in its environmental justice initiative. This required making environmental justice part of their mission and providing the public with annual progress reports on their efforts to help minorities that live in the shadows of society’s worst pollution.

The Trump administration plans to put an end to this madness that’s fleeced Americans out of huge sums. News reports indicate that 25% of the EPA’s budget will get cut and that will translate into the end of several Obama-era programs such as environmental justice, Global Change Research and Clean Power Plan, among others. This means that the gravy train will come to an abrupt halt and leftist groups as well as their allies in the mainstream media are incensed. The nation’s largest and most influential environmental organization has even whipped out the race card, accusing the Trump administration of being racist for slashing the environmental justice office. In a mainstream news report that was widely reprinted, a director at the Sierra Club club said this: “To cut the environmental justice program at EPA is just racist. I can’t describe it in any other terms than a move to leave those communities behind. I can’t imagine what the justification would be, other than racism.”

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After what Volkswagen has gone through with their saga over manipulated test numbers and the enormous cost to that automaker – that is in the process of buying back cars – you would think that other companies simply would not go there.

But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, Fiat Chrysler did.

The EPA served Fiat Chrysler with a “notice of violation of the Clean Air Act” and allege that it effects around 104,000 vehicles dating from 2014-2016.

2017 models have not yet been tested.

The vehicles impacted have the three-liter diesel engine that had been dubbed the EcoDiesel.

The EPA is alleging that the “eco” in EcoDiesel isn’t making friends with the environment.

Fiat, purchased Chrysler in 2014 for $4.35 billion.

This isn’t the first mechanical flap that Fiat has had in recent years. Their Fiat 500 mini car has been the subject of multiple recalls and customers have complained of major transmissions issues. The company failed to acknowledge the issues for over a year leading to many owners taking advantage of state lemon laws.

Expect this to make a major impact on Fiat Chrysler’s stock price, which as already dropped 10% since the announcement.

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clean cookstoves

The U.S. government has spent over $300 million on “efficient cook stoves” for developing nations and the federal employee behind the costly initiative just got a prestigious award that’s supposed to honor those “whose work makes our country better, healthier and stronger.”

It’s not clear how American taxpayer-funded stoves operating in a poor African village makes the U.S. better, healthier and stronger. What we do know for certain is that Uncle Sam has been a major contributor to a United Nations project, called Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, that aims to improve the lives of those living in the poorest areas of the world by reducing the health risks of indoor smoke from cooking meals over open fires and crude stoves.

Exposure to indoor smoke from cooking is the world’s fourth worst health risk, the U.S. government asserts, citing the U.N.’s World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that it kills 4.3 million people annually. In all, 500 million lives in 100 million impoverished households will benefit from the multi-million-dollar clean stove program, according to the U.S. government. The hardest hit areas include sub Saharan Africa, Bangladesh, Guatemala and India. Stoves will “save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions,” the Clean Cookstoves website states.

It’s a noble cause, but how does the U.S. and its residents benefit from this? The federal employee who just received an award for his role in the initiative works at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). His name is Jacob Moss and he’s being recognized for his “commitment and innovation in helping to create and lead an initiative to enable homes in developing nations to adopt cleaner, more efficient cookstoves and fuels to improve and save lives.” This month he won the prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies), known as the Oscars of government service.

Winners represent the many federal employees whose work makes our country better, healthier and stronger. “The Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals highlight excellence in our federal workforce and inspire other talented and dedicated individuals to go into public service,” according to the awardwebsite. It goes on to say that the awards align with the founder’s “vision of a dynamic and innovative federal workforce that meets the needs of the American people.” This brings up a valid question; how are the needs of the American people met by providing third-world countries with stoves?

Moss is getting the honor because he was a central architect in the program to enable homes in developing nations to adopt cleaner, more efficient cookstoves and fuels to improve health and save lives, according to the EPA. “Jacob truly embodies the spirit of commitment and service that this award honors,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement. “He has dedicated his professional life to eliminating the risks of toxic smoke from indoor cookstoves – one of the deadliest threats facing billions of people across the developing world.” Nearly 500 nominations were submitted this year and winners were chosen by a committee of leaders in government, academia, media and the private sector.

In 2010 Judicial Watch reported on a similar U.S.-funded program to replace “inefficient cook stoves” that were supposedly contributing to climate change and deforestation in developing countries. The Hillary Clinton State Department was responsible for that project, which received at least $50 million from American taxpayers and was formally announced at a Clinton Global Initiative Conference in New York. The allocation was justified with claims that smoke from “primitive stoves” was a leading environmental cause of death and disease and a huge contributor to global warming.

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impeach-obama

Enough is enough, when it comes to Barack Obama’s unconstitutional behavior.

That’s what the South Dakota Republican Party is saying.

In a resolution passed by the party on Saturday, 191 to 176, they recommended that the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington begin impeachment proceedings.

The resolution listed a number of ways Obama violated his oath of office, including the release of Bowe Bergdahl–the captive U.S. soldier now on trial for desertion–whose return was predicated on Obama releasing five dangerous Taliban terrorists.

They also cite Obama’s lies about on ObamaCare, namely his statement that people could keep their existing insurance if they liked it, and a slew of new EPA regulations that have taken on the coal industry without the input or approval of Congress

It ends with the clincher: “Therefore, be it resolved that the South Dakota Republican Party calls on our U.S. Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.”

Even though Barack Obama has only two years left of his final term in office–and the fight to replace him is already underway, both on the Republican side of the aisle and the Democratic one–it’s clear that his wheelings and dealings have continued to leave a bad taste in the mouth of many Republicans.

The resolution was sponsored by Allen Unruh of Sioux Falls, who ardently believes that Obama should be held responsible for all of his circumventing of the Constitution over the last six years.

Describing his anger towards Obama’s unconstitutional dealings, Unruh said, “I’ve got a thick book on impeachable offenses of the president” and that South Dakota ought to “send a symbolic message that liberty shall be the law of the land.”

Much as Unruh said, the resolution is completely symbolic–Congress has no requirement to even consider the South Dakota Republican Party’s resolution–but it remains to be seen if the fight to remove Obama right at the end of his presidency will continue to gain steam.

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epa-polluted-river

Ronald Reagan’s famous quote about the most terrifying line in the English language being: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help,” has taken on new meaning in Colorado–where a federal environmental cleanup crew from the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally destroyed an entire river.

While cleaning up an abandoned mine in southern Colorado, EPA agents accidentally caused wastewater to spill out directly into the Animas River. An estimated 1 to 3 million gallons of heavily polluted water from the mine flowed out, altogether.

The tremendous influx of wastewater soon turned the Animas River a bright neon orange–with one local even claiming that the river looked like it “was turned into carrot juice.”

The waste has continued to move downstream, dyeing more than 80 miles of scenic riverscape an unnatural color–all the way into New Mexico, where the Animas River ends.

According to the EPA, the spill occurred when its team was using heavy equipment to excavate the Gold King Mine, which has been suspended. Instead of entering the mine and pumping out the contaminated water, which was carrying “metals pollution” of iron, zinc, and copper from the abandoned mine, the team accidentally caused it to flow into the Animas River.

It’s unknown, at this time, what kind of threats the polluted river has for aquatic life or for the people who depend on water from the Animas River. The EPA is continuing to test the water quality to learn more–but one thing’s for sure; if you need an environmental cleanup, there’s a chance that entrusting it to federal agents might just make the whole thing a lot worse.

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global-cooling

Despite hysterical alarmist claims of man-made global warming and climate change, the data from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows the US in a steady cooling trend.

NOAA typically releases data only after “adjusting” it, with the adjustments nearly always making the warming trend seem more pronounced. Previously they have been caught manipulating data from as far back as the 1930s to make it seem hotter in modern times.

The raw data, though, is available on NOAA’s website – and it paints a starkly different picture from the public narrative.

Meteorologist Anthony Watts, curator of the popular climate site Watts Up With That, compiled the raw data from NOAA’s US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) and graphed it. The trend is undeniable: The US has been cooling for the last ten years.

The USCRN data comes from a series of over 140 temperature stations scattered throughout the US. These stations are NOAA’s premier data collection method, with a mission of collecting data that doesn’t “need” adjustment to provide accurate information. According to NOAA boss Tom Karl:

“These stations were designed with climate science in mind. Three independent measurements of temperature and precipitation are made at each station, insuring continuity of record and maintenance of well-calibrated and highly accurate observations. The stations are placed in pristine environments expected to be free of development for many decades. Stations are monitored and maintained to high standards and are calibrated on an annual basis.”

In other words, the USCRN is the star in NOAA’s lineup, even though the agency never mentions the raw data from the network in their regular reports on the climate.

Despite the obvious and gaping holes in the climate change narrative, the true believers are still charging full speed ahead. The latest public figure to throw his hat into the ring on behalf of climate hysteria is Pope Francis, who issued an encyclical today calling for global action to end climate change.

The irony of the Pope coming down on the side of climate alarmism is particularly delicious, since the climate change pushers have long denied that their fervor resembles organized religion. Many on the left proudly proclaim that environmentalism is incompatible with religion, and now religion has officially joined them.

So here we are again, with more evidence that the “settled science” is in fact bogus science. That doesn’t seem to bother President Obama, who said on May 20th that global warming is a clear security threat to the United States, and on Tuesday promised a series of executive actions to promote “green” energy in an effort to combat climate change.

Like the rest of the climate alarmist crowd, the President refuses to learn the lessons of past failures like Solyndra, and insists we must continue to tilt at the global warming windmill – even though the government’s own data says the warming isn’t happening.

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Obama-Miners-Welfare

Thousands of coal miners and coal-fired power plant workers who have lost their jobs due to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations since President Barack Obama took office can go on welfare – and to take advantage of $35 million in set aside “Power+Plan” welfare grants for the industry.

According to the Obama administration, the Commerce Department’s Power+Plan grants program will help “communities and workers successfully adapt to changes in the coal industry and power sector.”

Making no mention of easing the mostly arbitrary EPA regulations to staunch the bleeding of jobs in the coal industry, President Obama is asking Congress to raise the budget for Power+Plan grants to $55 million. The president believes the increased funding will “diversify” local economies across Appalachia so they become less reliant on coal jobs.

Speaking for the Department of Labor, Secretary Thomas Perez said:

“Recent changes in the energy economy have had a profound impact on Appalachian families and communities that have been sustained by the coal industry for generations”…and that “we have a moral imperative to work together to ensure we all succeed.”

Kentucky and West Virginia have been two of the hardest hit states when it comes to federal regulations on coal. EPA regulations are forcing power companies to delay coal-fired power plant repairs and maintenance… cancel plans to build new power plants… and force fully operational coal-fired power plants to close.

Some jobs have also been lost due to competition from natural gas. Kentucky lost 644 power plant jobs from 2008 to 2013 – a 37 percent drop in the workforce – and 5,188 coalmining jobs during that time – a 31 percent reduction in the state’s coal workforce.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said:

“Kentucky’s coal miners, their families and those working in coal-related jobs continue to suffer under this Administration’s War on Coal and its burdensome regulations, the result of which has been the loss of thousands of high-wage jobs in a region facing serious economic challenges.”

Until January, when Republicans took over control of the Senate following the 2014 elections, not much attention was paid to the Kentucky Republican. Since then, McConnell has only been able to secure $7.5 million from the Labor Department retrain coal workers who lost their jobs.

“This funding will help … provide essential reemployment services – including for emerging information technology jobs – to approximately 700 Kentuckians who have lost jobs or businesses as a result of the decline in the coal industry,” McConnell said.

The picture at the national level is bleak as well.

Coalmines and coal-fired power plants cut 43,386 jobs nationally during Obama’s first term in the White House according to the center-right American Action Forum think tank.

According to some estimates, EPA regulations under consideration to lower carbon dioxide emissions (a greenhouse gas that humans expel when breathing and that plants need to survive) will eliminate another 80,000 jobs in coal-related industries by 2030 and as many as 300,000 jobs from the U.S. economy as a whole.

The new EPA regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions will be finalized in the next couple months once the White House Office of Management and Budget finishes their “review”. After that, without a single vote in Congress, the new EPA regulations will become law.

Republican lawmakers and pro-coal blue state congressmen have crafted a bill to stop the pending power plan rules from becoming law and raise the bar for future EPA efforts to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Speaking on behalf of supporters, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said:

“The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act enables us to fight back against the assault on coal, and the broader threat to affordable, reliable energy nationwide.”

“I am proud to lead the charge against the ‘Clean Power Plan’s’ sweeping regulations and look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to move this very important legislation forward.”

Even if the bill passes both houses of Congress, it is unlikely President Obama will sign it and even more unlikely that supporters in Congress can muster enough votes to override a presidential veto.

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President Barack Obama announced his plan today to designate nearly all of Alaska’s 19.6-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as permanent untouchable wilderness lands.

That means there will be no oil drilling, timber harvests, fracking operations, mining, road building, development or any other human activity that would damage the area’s otherwise natural and pristine appearance.

In a statement issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior announced the release of its Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the refuge. Quoting the statement:

“The release of the CCP and the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the refuge, which recommends additional protections”. . .”President Obama announced he will make an official recommendation to Congress to designate core areas of the refuge – including its Coastal Plain – as wilderness, the highest level of protection available to public lands.”

In a piece by Ron Arnold writing for The Daily Signal, “Alaska’s U.S. senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and at-large Rep. Don Young, all Republicans, vowed at a press conference to fight Obama’s offshore decision…”.

Rep. Young is quoted as saying, “It’s becoming undeniably clear that this administration does not view Alaska as a sovereign state, but rather an eco-theme park for the most extreme environmentalist allies of the president and his party.”

Most disturbing is the role that Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin may have played in the decision.

Former Heritage Foundation investigative reporter Lachlan Markay now a staff writer with The Washington Free Beacon reported that:

“Russian money for anti-oil and gas campaigns had been laundered through a Bermuda investment house, bank, and shell corporation and the California-based Sea Change Foundation.

“The Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Food and Water Watch, the League of Conservation Voters and the Center for American Progress were among the recipients of Sea Change’s $100 million in grants in 2010 and 2011. . .”

More evidence.

In July 2014, the U.S Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee issued a report called The Chain of Environmental Command – an in-depth environmental collusion report detailing how a “Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA”

The report revealed that three Russian energy investment firms funded a company called Wakefield Quinn, a Bermuda law firm that laundered the funds through a front corporation called Klein, Ltd. Klein in turn passed it on to Sea Change, which distributed the funds to anti-oil-and-gas green groups based in the U.S.

Now that President Obama has walled off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas exploration at the behest of environmental groups that make their budgets with Russian money, Putin is asserting vast claims to oil and gas reserves for Russia in the Arctic.

That’s an astonishing return on the investment that Russia has made in eco-organizations that may not have America’s best interests at heart – something that might change when President Obama leaves office in 2017.

Until then, when the cats away, the Russian bear will play.

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