EPA Abuse http://epaabuse.com The Truth About the EPA Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:10:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 “American Dream” Or “American Nightmare?”: EPA Attempting To Take Over Private Property http://epaabuse.com/16772/editorials/american-dream-american-nightmare-epa-attempting-take-private-property/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=american-dream-american-nightmare-epa-attempting-take-private-property http://epaabuse.com/16772/editorials/american-dream-american-nightmare-epa-attempting-take-private-property/#respond Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:10:04 +0000 http://epaabuse.com/?p=16772
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Photo credit: Rainforest Action Network (Creative Commons)

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, is accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of secretly trying to take over large amounts of private property throughout the United States.

Rep. Smith released a series of EPA maps which he claims shows the agency’s plan to expand their regulatory power over streams and wetlands – making way for a large takeover of private land in the United States

In a letter to the EPA, obtained by Fox News, Rep. Smith writes: “These maps show the EPA’s plan: to control a huge amount of private property across the country. Given the astonishing picture they paint, I understand the EPA’s desire to minimize the importance of these maps.”

The maps are part of the EPA’s plan to re-define Americans’ private property rights under the Clean Water Act. While the EPA denies the recently released maps show which waterways they’re trying to control, the fact is, the EPA has already begun seizing private property under the guise of the “Clean Water Act.”

Over the last couple of years I’ve covered a number of stories on how the EPA was abusing their regulatory powers, and using the Clean Water Act to take land from private property owners, by redefining dry land as “protected wetlands”.

By redefining the term “Waters of the United States”, the EPA is attempting to take control of all tributaries, regardless of size and flow, and all private and public lakes, ponds and streams. The proposed rules would give the EPA control of temporary waterways like seasonal streams, and even land where heavy rainfall causes runoff to flow into a body of water.

Pattern of Abusing their Regulatory Power:

For years now the EPA has been going after private land owners, using the Clean Water Act as a way to either seize property or intimidate land owners with heavy fines and civil penalties.

Earlier this year a family in Wyoming discovered just how powerful the EPA has become, after they were ordered to remove a stock pond from their property and then fined $75,000-a-day.

Andy Johnson built the small pond on his eight-acre property as stock pond for trout. He wanted a place where his family could play, and an area where his horse could drink and graze. After finishing construction on the pond, Johnson was accused of violating the Clean Water Act and ordered to return the land to its original condition.

Despite filling out all the appropriate paperwork and getting approval to build the pond from the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office, the EPA insisted they have the final say over what gets built on the land.

Land Owners have very few resources to fight the EPA’s land grab

In 2005 Mike and Chantell Sackett purchased a small 0.62 acre parcel of land. After obtaining all the necessary local permits, the Sacketts started to clear their land so they could build a small three-bedroom family home. Without a judicial hearing or notice, the EPA told the couple to immediately stop construction and to return the land to its original condition. They were accused of violating the Clean Water Act.

The EPA claimed the Sacketts property was on protected wetlands, and then demanded payments of over a quarter of a million dollars to “request” permission from the U.S. government to build on their own land.

Armed with what they believed to be proof that the land was not federally protected “wetlands,” the Sacketts tried to challenge the EPA’s claim; to their surprise they were denied a hearing and told by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that they had no right to immediate judicial review. After years of battling the federal government, the ruling was later overturned by the Supreme court who found the Clean Water Act does not preclude judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Has the American Dream of Land Ownership become an American Nightmare?

Sadly these types of stories are not uncommon; in fact, they are happening throughout the country each and every day. I’ve covered these types of stories numerous times in the past: from a WWII vet who was forced out of his 88-year-old family owned grocery store; to the heartbreaking story of Andrew Wordes, who took his life after code enforcement teams seized his home; to the Off-Griders in California who were threatened with arrest for daring to live an off the grid lifestyle, these stories highlight how out of control the federal government has become at every level.

Our basic rights are being stripped from us right before our eyes, and the once great American Dream of owning your own little piece of land is quickly becoming an American Nightmare.

Photo credit: Rainforest Action Network (Creative Commons)



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Breaking: Obama Just Completely Ignored Congress And Put Our Fate In The Hands Of The U.N. http://epaabuse.com/16766/news/breaking-obama-just-completely-ignored-congress-put-fate-hands-u-n/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=breaking-obama-just-completely-ignored-congress-put-fate-hands-u-n http://epaabuse.com/16766/news/breaking-obama-just-completely-ignored-congress-put-fate-hands-u-n/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:38:37 +0000 http://epaabuse.com/?p=16766
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Since the beginning of his presidency, Barack Obama has been chipping away at the Constitution, eroding the separation of powers, diminishing the authority of the Congress, and strengthening the ever-widening grip of the executive branch.

Now, just when so many people have been expecting Obama to issue an executive order regarding amnesty for illegal immigrants, here comes a different initiative – a move to impose sweeping climate rules not by the stroke of the presidential pen, but by an international agreement mandated through the United Nations.

That’s right, the President of the United States is aggressively working to undermine US sovereignty, subjecting the nation to the authority of the UN.

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration has been working quietly behind the scenes to fashion a “legally binding agreement” that would essentially make an end run around the Congress, breaking not only with long-established tradition but also with Constitutional principles.

The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.

In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.

“If you want a deal that includes all the major emitters, including the U.S., you cannot realistically pursue a legally binding treaty at this time,” said Paul Bledsoe, a top climate change official in the Clinton administration who works closely with the Obama White House on international climate change policy.

Of course, this new effort to nullify the power of the Congress doesn’t mean that Team Obama won’t pursue immigration reform through an executive action. It simply means that lawmakers will have yet another potentially disruptive Constitutional crisis to deal with.

-Norvell Rose

 

Photo Credit: Vadim Petrakov | shutterstock.com



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Video: WATCH: “Climatologists” Make Their Case For Global Warming http://epaabuse.com/16769/videos/watch-climatologists-make-case-global-warming/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=watch-climatologists-make-case-global-warming http://epaabuse.com/16769/videos/watch-climatologists-make-case-global-warming/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:09:04 +0000 http://epaabuse.com/?p=16769 Two callers give their reasons why Climate Change is a problem on Earth.
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Two callers give their reasons why Climate Change is a problem on Earth.


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Fear: The Strategy Of Activists http://epaabuse.com/16764/editorials/fear-strategy-activists/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fear-strategy-activists http://epaabuse.com/16764/editorials/fear-strategy-activists/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 19:26:52 +0000 http://epaabuse.com/?p=16764
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Obama's War On Fossil Fuels SC

Here are quotations from several sources designed to scare people.

  • “Rapid development of fossil-fuel resources has the potential to transform landscapes and biological communities before the resulting impacts are fully understood.”
  • “The biological impacts of shale energy development are numerous, and include water scarcity, habitat loss, and various forms of pollution that can cross terrestrial and aquatic boundaries, extend beyond the immediate footprint of the operation, and may interact to affect ecosystems in unexpected ways, making cumulative impacts assessment imperative.”
  • “The most rapidly growing source of natural gas in the U.S. [the Marcellus Shale] underlies one of the country’s highest diversity areas for amphibians and freshwater fish.”
  • “The AP found that Pennsylvania received 398 complaints in 2013 alleging that oil or natural gas drilling polluted or otherwise affected private water wells, compared with 499 in 2012.”
  • “Just hearing the total number of complaints shocked Heather McMicken, an eastern Pennsylvania homeowner.”
  • “Natural gas producers have been running roughshod over communities across the country with their extraction and production activities for too long, resulting in contaminated water supplies, dangerous air pollution, destroyed streams, and devastated landscapes.”

This is what you read in the media.

The above quotations are from: a Blog, USA Today, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the same NGO that helped kill nuclear power.

Of course, few if any of these scare scenarios have any substance in fact. They are open-ended and designed to scare the reader who is otherwise uninformed about fracking (or, for that matter, about most energy issues, including global warming.)

But, why don’t they have any substance in fact?

It’s essential to understand that in virtually all cases, fracking takes place several thousand feet beneath the water table, with layers of rock between the shale and the water table.

It’s virtually impossible for fracking to contaminate wells and water supplies, or harm biologic communities and fish. It just physically can’t happen when the fracking operation takes place thousands of feet below any lake, river, steam, or water source.

There are a few instances where the shale formation is closer to the water table, such as in Arkansas, where it’s only a thousand feet below the water table–and in Wyoming, where the geology is unique.

The scare movies about fracking have shown people lighting water coming from their water faucets, supposedly proof that fracking contaminated wells.

The attached picture was published in the National Geographic Magazine in 1980, long before fracking was common.

Photo from August, 1980 issue of National Geographic Magazine

It shows a man in Minnesota lighting the water coming from his well because naturally occurring methane gas had seeped, naturally, into his well.

This was also the case in Pavilion, Wyoming, a widely publicized case where wells had supposedly been contaminated by methane. The EPA couldn’t prove the drillers had contaminated the wells, after two attempts to do so. See, Good News About Fracking  and Fracking Indictment.

Even today, researchers from Stanford University, as reported on August 14 by McClatchy News, are studying Wyoming for evidence that fracking has contaminated water supplies; and they admit they haven’t been able to find anything.

This doesn’t mean there can’t be problems associated with drilling.

Note that the complaints from Pennsylvania haven’t been categorized, but merely try to blame fracking.

About 40% of the water used in the fracking operation flows back from the well, and this water is contaminated and should be properly disposed of.

The industry is addressing this issue.

It’s estimated that within five years, 50% of the waste water from Eagle Ford shale operations will be recycled. Marathon, for example, is also developing methods for recycling water in the Bakken.

Have accidents occurred where contaminated water has spilled onto property, or been improperly disposed of? Probably, but the incidents have been rare. The industry is working hard to make certain accidents don’t happen because the industry knows it can be castigated for any such occurrence.

The NRDC claims there is dangerous air pollution, but that’s because the NRDC believes that all fossil fuels cause global warming. Natural gas is methane, and methane is worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

While some natural gas has leaked into the atmosphere, with no real cause for concern, the real problem has been that drillers have flared excess natural gas that flows with oil from the well because they had no way of transporting the natural gas from the well site.

Even this problem is being addressed with the advent of equipment to compress or liquify the natural gas at the well site, for use as a fuel for powering engines.

Then, there is the claim of water scarcity in the scare stories.

In many areas, there are abundant supplies of water; and there is no scarcity. In Texas, where there could be scarcities, only one percent of potable water usage is for fracking.

But even here, the industry is taking steps to limit the use of potable water, such as by reclaiming wastewater.

With respect to water usage, more than 50% of the water Marathon uses in the Eagle Ford is considered unsuitable for drinking, agriculture, or livestock. Marathon said, “We’re using water that otherwise wouldn’t be used anywhere else.”

The media, of course, is complicit in the efforts to scare people. Again, as the saying goes, “If it Bleeds, it Leads.”

At best, the media industry is merely trying to sell newspapers, magazines, and TV shows … at worst, it’s perpetuating ignorance that harms America.

 

Read more of Donn’s columns at his blog, Power for USA



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Video: Man To Live On An Iceberg For A Year–To Raise Awareness Of Global Warming http://epaabuse.com/16760/videos/man-live-iceberg-year-raise-awareness-global-warming/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=man-live-iceberg-year-raise-awareness-global-warming http://epaabuse.com/16760/videos/man-live-iceberg-year-raise-awareness-global-warming/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 19:11:57 +0000 http://epaabuse.com/?p=16760 Adventurer Alex Bellini will be living on an iceberg in Greenland to remind us poor saps what is gonna happen if we don’t take this global warming thingy seriously…
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Adventurer Alex Bellini will be living on an iceberg in Greenland to remind us poor saps what is gonna happen if we don’t take this global warming thingy seriously…


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Video: Idahoans Fight Latest Rule Change From EPA http://epaabuse.com/16753/videos/idahoans-fight-latest-rule-change-epa/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=idahoans-fight-latest-rule-change-epa http://epaabuse.com/16753/videos/idahoans-fight-latest-rule-change-epa/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 18:44:00 +0000 http://epaabuse.com/?p=16753 A huge battle is about to take place…
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A huge battle is about to take place…


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Have We Lost Our Way? http://epaabuse.com/16756/editorials/lost-way/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lost-way http://epaabuse.com/16756/editorials/lost-way/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 18:04:09 +0000 http://epaabuse.com/?p=16756
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Photo credit: Richard Graham (Creative Commons)

The United States has had the lowest cost, most reliable electricity in the world. Why would we undo what has worked to our benefit for nearly a century?

That is a question worth asking, as we forge ahead imposing policies that are rapidly tearing apart the grid and increasing the cost of electricity for people and industry.

Any increase in the cost of electricity ripples across the entire economy, raising the cost of food, clothing, housing, and nearly everything else we use.

Table I compares the cost of producing, not transmitting or distributing, electricity.
Note that these are different from those shown on the EIA web site. For a discussion of LCOEs, see Meaningless LCEOs.

The bottom line is no matter which LCOE is used, wind and solar are more expensive than electricity from coal or natural gas. Also, note that LCOEs do not include the cost of running natural gas power plants 24/7 as backup for when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.

Increasing the percentage of electricity generated by wind and solar from the paltry 4% today, which is nearly all from wind, to just 20% will require adding huge amounts of large scale storage that doesn’t exist. This doesn’t include PV roof-top solar installations for which comparable data is not available, but which are also creating problems. See Save The Grid.

The real goal is to have 80% from wind and solar, the same as Germany’s goal.

TABLE I

Cost of ElectricitykWh
Coal-fired $0.06
Natural gas combined cycle $0.05
Wind $0.11
Solar $0.15 – $0.27

Why would we promote less efficient methods for generating electricity when higher costs to consumers and industry would hurt families and kill jobs?

The reason put forth by the EPA is to improve air quality, but haven’t we reached the limits of how much air quality can be improved?

Would eliminating coal-fired power plants improve air quality or have health benefits?

Air Quality compared with GDP and Population Growth

The above chart shows how air quality has improved while GDP and population have increased between 1979 and 2002.

The following chart shows ozone levels. It should be noted that higher levels are not correlated with coal-fired power plants, but probably are more closely associated with automobile exhaust. Note the area around four-corners where two large coal-fired power plants continue to operate. (The four-corners are formed by New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.)

Ozone Levels in United States 2005 - 2009

A complete view of air quality from 1980 through 2013 is available from the EPA at: http://www.epa.gov/airdata/ad_rep_aqi.html

Coal-fired power plants are supposedly the culprit when it comes to poor air quality, but they have reduced pollutant emissions to such a low level that closing large numbers of coal-fired power plants will have little if any effect on improving air quality or mitigating health concerns.

In fact, building new ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants that are 36% more efficient than existing coal-fired power plants would have little, if any, negative effect on air quality … especially if they replace the older, less efficient plants.

Mercury emissions have also been reduced to minimal levels, where natural emissions far outweigh any impact from coal-fired power plants.

The report, Regulatory Analysis of EPA’s Proposed Rule to Reduce Mercury Emissions from Utility Boilers, shows that EPA rules will have virtually no effect on health.

If closing coal-fired power plants won’t have any significant effect on air quality or health, why is this administration forcing the country to adopt high cost alternatives for generating electricity?

There is only one answer, and that’s to cut CO2 emissions. See “There is No Denying Global Warming.”

Cutting CO2 emissions is the reason why the United States is being subjected to regulations that harm Americans.

It’s impossible for the United States to cut CO2 emissions enough to have any effect on global warming, even if CO2 emissions are the cause of global warming … which they probably aren’t.

China and India will continue to emit many tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, even if we hobble our economy by trying to cut CO2 emissions.

CO2 atmospheric levels will increase worldwide, even if we cut CO2 emissions 80%, which is the goal of this administration and the EPA.

This administration is subjecting Americans to a fools errand that hurts American consumers and American industry.

 

Read more of Donn’s columns at his blog, Power For USA

Photo credit: Richard Graham (Creative Commons)



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Why Wind Energy Is A Bad Idea http://epaabuse.com/16751/editorials/wind-energy-bad-idea/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wind-energy-bad-idea http://epaabuse.com/16751/editorials/wind-energy-bad-idea/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:55:21 +0000 http://epaabuse.com/?p=16751
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Photo credit: ali_pk (Creative Commons)

In a casual conversation, I was asked why wind energy is a bad idea. Once again, I realized that a one or two-word answer could not convey a readily understandable and accurate picture of wind energy.

This article will try to provide such an answer in a few hundred words, where one or two won’t suffice.

There are essentially four reasons why wind energy is a bad idea.

  • It is unreliable
  • It is very, very expensive
  • It produces electricity when it isn’t needed
  • It has environmental issues

Wind farm in New York State. 2013

Wind farm in New York State. 2013

Wind can only produce electricity when the wind is blowing at between 6 mph and 55 mph. Above 6 mph, it gradually increases its output until it reaches a maximum output at around 35 mph. Above 55 mph, the wind turbine is shut down to prevent damage to the turbine.

The wind can stop blowing abruptly, so backup power generation must be immediately available to replace the wind generated electricity; or the grid could collapse causing blackouts.

Typically, gas turbine generators are kept running 24/7 so they are available to be rapidly brought online.

A sufficient number of gas turbine generators must be kept running at all times to be ready for when the wind stops blowing. This varies by region and depends on the reliability of day-ahead weather forecasts.

The electricity generated by wind has an intrinsic cost, based on leveled cost of electricity (LCOE) of around 11 cents per kWh. This compares with around 5 cents per kWh for natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants and around 6 cents for coal-fired power plants.

But there are other costs for wind energy that are seldom taken into consideration, and not included in LCOE calculations.

First, there is the cost of back-up power. It costs money to keep gas turbine generators running for no other purpose than to be ready to come on line when the wind stops blowing, or the sun stops shining in the case of solar generation.

It also costs money to build transmission lines that are used solely, or nearly so, to carry electricity from wind farms to where it can be used.

The best winds are in Montana and along the face of the Rocky Mountains, and these can be a thousand miles from where the wind generated electricity can be used. Transmission lines must be built if this electricity is to be brought to where it can be used. Though involving shorter distances, many other wind farms also need dedicated transmission lines to connect them to the grid.

Wind farms also produce electricity at night, when it isn’t needed.

More importantly, the nameplate ratings of wind turbines overstate the amount of electricity they can produce. Wind turbines in the United States have had a capacity factor of around 32%, or lower during the recent past.

Capacity factor is the amount of electricity a wind turbine, or any other power generation method, produces over a year, compared with how much it could produce using its nameplate rating.

Coal-powered and NGCC power plants typically have a capacity factor of around 85%, while nuclear power plants have a capacity factor of 90% or higher.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is constantly bragging about how many Megawatts (MW) are being installed, when a wind turbine’s true ability to produce electricity is only one-third the amount claimed by the nameplate rating.

Essentially, wind turbines produce small amounts of electricity compared with the other methods. This becomes important when hot summer days result in peak periods of usage. Not only do wind farms produce very little electricity during hot summer afternoons, but people are lulled into thinking there are large amounts of capacity available because of the substantial amount of Megawatts (MW) of wind power being installed.

As the New York Times noted:

“Peak supply is also becoming a vexing problem because so much of the generating capacity added around the country [US] lately is wind power, which is almost useless on the hot, still days when air-conditioning drives up demand.”

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas says that less than 10% of total wind capacity is “available” during peak summer days.

And finally, there are environmental issues associated with wind turbines.

Wind turbines kill thousands of birds every year, including Bald Eagles, a protected species. They also kill thousands of bats.

Wind turbines produce noise pollution that affects people living near them. Some people complain about the visual pollution of huge towers along the skyline in what are supposed to be pristine, scenic areas.

Wind turbines also use rare earths, where mining has caused serious environmental damage.

Whether these are better or worse than environmental issues caused by gas turbines or coal-fired power plants can be debated, but the point is that wind farms are not free of environmental problems.

Taxpayers are paying huge amounts of money for subsidies for wind turbines, which would otherwise be uneconomic. Whether subsidies for wind turbines will be maintained is still being debated in Congress.

Unreliable, very expensive electricity that’s not available when its needed is not worth the taxpayer subsidies used to build wind turbines, when there are less expensive, more reliable sources of electricity available.

 

Read more of Donn’s articles at his blog, Power For USA.

Photo credit: ali_pk (Creative Commons)



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