Archive for the ‘Regulations’ Category
This article is worth reading just based on this quote alone:
But opponents argued that the pipeline will worsen the problem of climate change by continuing reliance on fossil fuels, instead of developing renewable energy. “It’s a not a matter of how safe that pipeline is, better than trains,” said Dave Carroll. “We’re looking at the survivability of all civilization.”
That’s stunning! It’s stunning in its ignorance. It’s just more proof that environmentalists’ predictions aren’t tethered to the truth in any meaningful way.
In the grand scheme of the universe, humans are insignificant at best. Let’s scale that to the grand scheme of this solar system. People are still pretty insignificant. But according to Mr. Carroll, we’re capable of destroying Planet Earth with a 616-mile long pipeline from North Dakota through Minnesota to Wisconsin. That’s utter nonsense.
According to this graph, there’s already 1,566,495 miles worth of pipelines crossing the United States. Why should anyone think that another 616 miles of pipeline will suddenly make the environment toxic?
Thankfully, some voices of sanity testified at this week’s hearing:
State Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, said there’s a “pressing need” to increase the amount of oil moved by pipeline instead of by rail, which he said is responsible for far more fatalities. “This is not about anything more simple than we need to put crude oil in pipelines in the interest of public safety,” Lueck said.
Several union members testified in favor of the project, saying it would create much-needed well-paying jobs. Scott Erlander, a member of the Pipefitters Local Union 455 of St. Paul, said pipe workers care about safety and water quality too. “No one here wants to see our water contaminated including all the workers on this project … This is not trading water for oil,” Erlander said.
Teresa Bohnen, president of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Sandpiper would provide “real benefit” to Minnesota, including the creation of about 1,500 construction jobs. Bohnen noted that the increased amount of oil rail traffic is interfering with the state’s commerce and movement of goods, including agricultural products and coal for the Sherco plant in Becker.
It’s time to shout this information from the rooftops: renewable energy won’t replace fossil fuels in the next generation. Period. Their capability is limited at best. Meanwhile, fossil fuels have supplied a steady stream of relatively inexpensive energy that’s helped make the United States the world’s economic superpower of the last half-century.
Finally, environmentalists protesting the Sandpiper Pipeline project are hurting farmers. That includes the environmentalists appointed by Gov. Dayton to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, aka MPUC. Thanks to the environmental activists’ protests, farmers are getting hurt because they aren’t getting their crops to market in a timely fashion.
The pipeline battle is really a fight between Twin Cities-based environmental activists vs. outstate farmers, both of which are supposedly part of the DFL.
Technorati: Pipelines, Sandpiper Pipeline, Fossil Fuels, Teresa Bohnen, St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce, Dale Lueck, Legislator, Scott Erlander, Pipefitters Union, Agriculture, Transportation, Dave Carroll, Environmental Activists, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, DFL
Bill Jacobson’s op-ed for USA Today highlights in outstanding detail President Obama’s unconstitutional actions. Let’s start with this:
Three areas of the Obama administration going it alone stand out: Immigration, Obamacare and the environment. Immigration is perhaps the most dramatic example.
Legalizing and eventually providing a path to citizenship for the estimated 10-12 million illegal immigrants is a top administration priority. But that priority hit a roadblock in the form of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and soon, Senate. Out of frustration, Obama has taken unilateral action to evade the immigration laws.
Prior to 2014, the administration already had imposed non-repatriation policies at the border, and established the “mini-dream” policy, precluding deportation of people who were brought to the country illegally as minors and met certain other criteria. These policies, however, only applied to a relatively small portion of the total illegal immigrant population. So more was needed, and that “more” would not be coming from Congress.
It’s worth highlighting this first because it’s likely to get dealt with first. With the government funded for the year except the Department of Homeland Security, Republicans can play hardball on this issue. All they have to do is attach a rider to funding DHS prohibiting DHS from spending any money on documents that President Obama promised when he took this unconstitutional action.
That’s the short-term fix. The medium-term fix will come when the courts slap down President Obama’s actions in due time. The long-term fix will happen when a Republican president secures the Tex-Mex border, then signs one-piece-at-a-time immigration reform.
It’s worth noting that it’s Congress, not the president who sets immigration policy:
Congress’s legislative powers are enumerated in Section Eight:
The Congress shall have power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common defence[note 1] and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
Here’s the heart of Prof. Jacobson’s commentary on the subject:
This immigration end-run creates a class of people who effectively are exempt from the immigration laws, without Congress ever having recognized such an exemption. It is not prosecutorial discretion but a usurpation of legislative power.
The executive branch never is vested with legislative authority. The minute this gets to the courts, they’ll rule against the Obama administration.
Here’s Prof. Jacobson’s excellent closing argument:
The exploitation of environmental regulatory authority not to implement laws, but to create a regulatory equivalent of legislation, is an abuse of executive discretion. At every level, the Obama administration has signaled that going it alone is the only way to get things done.
But that is not how our constitutional system is set up. The Framers understood the threat of an overreaching executive who wants to be king not president.
When President Obama leaves office, the next president will have a lengthy list of things to clean up from President Obama’s assault on the Constitution.
One question that Gov. Dayton and the DFL have continually refused to answer is where the proposed pipelines are. Gov. Dayton, the DFL and their allies in the environmental movement constantly cite the need for additional studies to make sure the pipeline won’t hurt Minnesota’s supposedly pristine waters.
Whatever their arguments, the truth is that Gov. Dayton, the DFL and environmental organizations don’t want pipelines built. As a result, farmers are getting hurt and cities along rail lines are at greater safety risk. The Anoka County Watchdog highlighted the problem:
One of the most prolific offenders in this regard is Governor Dayton, whose incompetence creates numerous problems he then attempts “solve,” mostly by wrongly blaming others for starting the fire.
Such was the case this week, when the Governor showed up in Coon Rapids for a roundtable discussion on rail congestion in the city and the attendant problems it is causing.
The city is home to two mainline tracks which carry a large volume of freight to the West Coast. These tracks have become congested, mostly because of oil trains, which is causing not only an inconvenience, but is creating safety issues as trains block intersections and the oil trains remain a risk for derailment.
I don’t often give advice but I’ll make an exception this time. If the GOP majority in the House of Representatives want to put the DFL in a difficult position, they should vote on legislation that puts a time limit on how long it takes from initial application to final up-or-down vote.
That doesn’t mean all pipeline projects be approved in that time period. It simply means the regulating bodies have to vote up or down. The regulating body would have to explain why they rejected a pipeline company’s application. For instance, the Public Utilities Commission couldn’t just call for examining different routes. If the PUC rejected the application, they’d have to give a substantive, point-by-point explanation for why they rejected a pipeline company’s application.
If the DFL majority in the Senate rejected the House bill, then they’d have to explain to voters why they voted against freeing up railcar space for farmers. That’d expose the DFL as being anti-farmer and/or anti-outstate Minnesota.
In 2014, the DFL insisted that they weren’t anti-outstate Minnesota. In 2016, they couldn’t make that argument because Republicans would have substantive proof for their accusations..
When he served in the legislature, Mike Beard was my go-to guy on energy and environmental issues. Two things impressed me about Mike. First, his understanding of energy and environmental issues is outstanding. The only thing more impressive than Mike’s understanding of energy and environmental issues was the fact that Mike Beard’s integrity was unassailable. This morning, Mike teamed with Roger Moe to write this op-ed on energy issues for the St. Cloud Times. Here’s the chief point Beard and Moe drove home:
To help ensure we continue to have a reliable source of electricity in Minnesota and throughout our region, we recently signed on as the honorary co-chairs of the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future, an organization that advocates for preserving a balanced, all-of-the-above approach to electricity that includes traditional sources like coal-based power plants in both Minnesota and North Dakota.
Lignite is a grade of coal that might not sound familiar, but the electricity North Dakota lignite generates is regularly transmitted to us in Minnesota.
Lignite is different from the coal found in the Appalachian regions of the eastern United States, or other coals that must be shipped long distances by train. Because it is mined at the surface, rather than underground, lignite coal mining is safer than other heavy industries such as construction and manufacturing. It is also consumed at power plants adjacent to the mines, which virtually eliminates costly transportation charges and the need to burn diesel to transport coal.
The regional coal industry takes great pride in its ability to generate this low-cost source of electricity while simultaneously reducing emissions. In fact, North Dakota, with its eight coal plants and Minnesota, with its 11 coal plants, enjoy great marks from the American Lung Association. This prime ALA rating should serve as a reminder that electricity from coal can be economically beneficial and environmentally sound.
Mike’s goal, whenever I spoke with him, was to educate people about Minnesota’s energy needs within the context of keeping Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, streams and air as clean as possible. That’s what this paragraph is about:
But when looking to the future, we can’t forget about the present. The diverse set of energy resources we use includes intermittent resources like wind and solar, as well as sources of always on, reliable power such as coal, nuclear, biomass and hydropower.
While it’s important to keep Minnesota’s air and water as clean as possible, it’s imperative that we don’t reach past the tipping point of clean air and affordable electric bills for families. This op-ed highlights how lignite coal gets good grades from the American Lung Association while providing reliable energy at a cheap price.
The first dirty little secret is that solar and wind power can’t replace coal because you can’t run factories on wind or solar power. The other dirty little secret is that the federal government wants to expand its regulatory reach beyond where the CWA is authorized to reach:
The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers recently released a draft rule to significantly broaden the scope of their authority under the Clean Water Act by expanding the definition of “waters of the United States.” The guidance would reverse U.S. Supreme Court decisions setting limits on the federal government’s authority to regulate waters without Congressional action.
The CWA is one of the most abused laws in the federal government. The Obama administration hopes to use it to increase its regulatory authority into areas currently governed by state and local jurisdictions. It’s imperative that this overreach is stopped before it hurts the U.S. economy.
Elizabeth Warren, the hardline progressive who took Ted Kennedy’s seat, won’t be the Democrats’ presidential nominee. If she ran, however, she’d be pounded mercilessly for statements like this:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) went straight after Republicans, blasting the GOP on deregulation and trickle down economics during a Center for American Progress event on Wednesday.
“The Republicans have a pretty simple philosophy: they say if those at the top have more, more power for Wall Street players to do whatever they want and more money for tax cuts than somehow they can be counted on to build the economy for everyone else,” Warren said. “Well, we tried it for 30 years and it didn’t work. In fact the consequences were nearly catastrophic.”
That’s rich considering the fact that the economy created more full-time jobs in 6 months under President Reagan than have been created during President Obama’s administration. If high taxes, overregulation and big spending were the right elixir, the Obama economy would be creating 2,000,000 high-paying full-time jobs each year.
The truth is that Obamanomics’ cornerstone policies don’t work. They’ve never worked in creating robust economic growth that helps everyone. In President Obama’s America, the well-connected get special breaks, Wall Street gets monthly bailouts and the middle class, what’s left of it anyway, takes it in the shorts. If Sen. Warren wants to fight for President Obama’s policies, be my guest.
Sen. Warren’s policies are tired:
“We tested the Republican ideas and they failed, they failed spectacularly. There’s no denying that fact,” Warren said. “We know the importance of accountability on Wall Street, the benefits of having a better educated work force. The advantages that come from investments of high speed rail and medical research.”
‘Investing’ in high speed rail is a boondoggle. As for a well-educated workforce, the American people have been getting ripped off by government schools, aka public schools. Unions have hurt public education. Charter schools, while not being the sole elixir to the problem, are definitely a positive step.
This is positively rich:
“People across this country get it. Sure, there’s a lot of work to be done and there’s a long way to go before Democrats can reclaim the right to say that we’re fighting for America’s working people, that we’re fighting to build a future not just for some of our children but for all of our children,” Warren said. “No, we’re not there yet but don’t forget the good news. Our agenda is America’s agenda.”
The masses aren’t clamoring for a green economy. They’re shouting for a robust expansion of fossil fuel exploration. They’re insisting on limiting regulations on sources of energy that heat homes and power factories.
If Democrats want to run on Obama’s policies, which they’ll be forced to do, they’ll get soundly defeated in 2016. Moving further to the left won’t grow their party. It’ll set the Democratic Party back a decade or more.
Britta Arendt’s article tells the story of a fantastic candidate making an impressive closing argument:
With his signature spark of energy, McFadden lit up the room during his stop at the Sawmill Inn as he raced in for a brief visit. “I love to be here in Grand Rapids where there’s the convergence of mining and timber,” said McFadden.
A vote for Mike McFadden is a vote for building pipelines and opening mines. A vote for Al Franken is a vote for more IRS investigations and being the environmental activists’ friend.
It’s a vote against mining and logging jobs. It’s a vote against farmers getting their crops to market.
Most importantly, a vote for Mike McFadden is a vote for the most qualified candidate in the race. Al Franken knows government’s nooks and crannies. Mike McFadden understands health care policy, energy policy, regulatory policy and foreign policy.
It isn’t just that we can do better. It’s that we can’t afford 6 more years of Sen. Franken’s partisanship and not getting important things done. Sen. Franken hasn’t done anything constructive to make PolyMet a reality. He’s done nothing to grow Minnesota’s companies.
That’s because he’s spent too much time doing what he’s told by President Obama, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer. That trio don’t have Minnesota’s best interests at heart. They definitely don’t have the Iron Range’s best interests at heart.
If he’s elected, Mike McFadden will hit the ground running in DC. It’s apparent that he’ll find natural allies in the Senate in Ron Johnson, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst and Cory Gardner.
When asked of his thoughts regarding the proposed federal listing of the long-eared bat as an endangered species because of the threat of the white-nose syndrome which could potentially shut down summer logging and timber operations, McFadden said “It’s a false choice, environment or jobs. I reject that.”
Continuing on the environment topic, McFadden addressed the proposed PolyMet mining project and said, “Science needs to be based on facts not emotions. Extreme environmentalists can cause decisions to be caught up for years in regulatory review and, in the meantime, people lose hundreds of jobs. I am running against someone who has done nothing to expedite the PolyMet project.”
Al Franken is one of the Environmental Left’s best allies. He’s repeatedly gone to bat for them, albeit quietly so he can pretend to be the miners’ friend.
Al Franken won’t fight against environmental extremists because he’s one of them. Mike McFadden will fight against the environmental extremist base of the DFL because he doesn’t owe them anything and because he he’d rather see all Minnesotans prosper than pander for special interest contributions for his next campaign.
Catherine Richert’s Poligraph article needs to be factchecked. This statement is especially egregious:
During the three-way gubernatorial debate between Dayton, GOP candidate Jeff Johnson and Independence Party candidate Hannah Nicollet, Johnson repeatedly said that Dayton’s administration hasn’t given enough money and attention to greater Minnesota.
That statement isn’t accurate. Here’s what Jeff Johnson said:
“Greater Minnesota in many ways has become an afterthought in this state, whether you’re looking at where we spend our transportation dollars, whether you are looking at K-12 funding formulas, whether you’re looking at some of the regulations that are killing our farmers, our miners and our loggers in this state,” said Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner.
Gov. Dayton’s reply (Richert called it pushback) was a non sequitur:
Gov. Mark Dayton: “The facts don’t support what Commissioner Johnson alleges. The bonding bill last year, 38 percent went to greater Minnesota, 28 percent to the Metro. The rest was statewide projects.”
Jeff Johnson didn’t mention the Bonding Bill in his statement. Johnson talked specifically about transportation spending, the K-12 funding formula favoring the metro over outstate Minnesota and how the Dayton administration’s regulatory overreach that’s hurting loggers and miners in northern Minnesota and farmers throughout Minnesota. Here’s Richert’s verdict:
Dayton’s claim is accurate.
It’s the most accurate non sequitur answer I’ve heard in a debate. The important point to take from Gov. Dayton’s statement is that he didn’t deny that the K-12 funding formula is weighted in the Twin Cities’ favor. Gov. Dayton didn’t deny that overregulation is hurting farmers, miners and loggers. Gov. Dayton didn’t deny that there’s a disparity in transportation funding between the Metro and outstate Minnesota.
Gov. Dayton’s defense of this egregious disparity was that the DFL threw some crumbs to outstate Minnesota in the Bonding Bill. Finally, Gov. Dayton didn’t offer proof that the economy in outstate Minnesota was strong.
Building a civic center or arena in a small agriculture town won’t help farmers make money. Commissioner Johnson is right that the outstate economy isn’t strong because it’s getting hurt by regulations on the major industries in outstate Minnesota.
I rate this Poligraph article misleading.
Wednesday night, Jeff Johnson highlighted the differences between his main street governing approach and Gov. Dayton’s metrocentric governing approach. This video highlights that difference:
Here’s the transcript of Commissioner Johnson’s response:
There was an increase in local government aid last year under the all-DFL government we have but there was also the largest portion, I believe, that we’ve ever seen of local government aid going to Minneapolis. That’s at the direct expense of communities in Greater Minnesota. And that has been a pretty common theme in the Dayton administration. Greater Minnesota, in many ways, has become an afterthought in this state, whether you’re talking about where we’re spending our transportation dollars at, whether you’re looking at K-12 education funding formula, whether you’re looking at some of the regulations that are killing our farmers and our miners and our loggers in this state or whether you’re looking at LGA. There’s a very metrocentric philosophy at the Capitol right now.
That reply exposed the DFL’s metro-first governing philosophy while highlighting Commissioner Johnson’s prioritizing Greater Minnesota. A vote for Gov. Dayton isn’t just a vote for reckless spending. It’s a vote for the DFL to ignore Greater Minnesota for another 4 years.
This was the biggest jaw-dropping moment of the debate:
Earlier in the day, Gov. Dayton said that he hasn’t lost sleep over MNsure in his attempt to sound like MNsure’s problems are fixed. They definitely aren’t fixed. Here’s the next bombshell that Commissioner Johnson dropped on Gov. Dayton:
Saying that he’ll “fire the entire MNsure board and top staff because they’re incompetent” was definitely unexpected. It’s definitely justified, though. When Pat Kessler says that he thinks that people at MNsure lied to him. Jim Nobles, the Legislative Auditor, is auditing MNsure.
I didn’t notice this initially but it’s noteworthy because it’s Gov. Dayton’s government-knows-best moment:
This won’t hurt Gov. Dayton within the DFL but it might hurt him with women. It’s possible that they’ll say that they know what their families need and that they don’t need government telling them what they need.
It took more than 40 minutes but they finally got to the Dayton-DFL economy before jumping into PolyMet. Commissioner Johnson’s back-and-forth with Gov. Dayton was especially interesting:
Gov. Dayton better hope that people on the Range don’t hear him say that he’s opposed to pushing mining without a lengthy, expensive, environmental review. They’ve endured 9 years of review for PolyMet. There’s no question that it’s safe. The only people who think precious metals mining isn’t safe are the environmental activists in the Twin Cities, which is the dominant wing in the DFL right now.
Technorati: Debates, Jeff Johnson, Greater Minnesota, PolyMet, MNGOP, Mark Dayton, MNsure, MNsure Board, Incompetence, DFL, Jim Nobles, Legislative Auditor, MNsure Audit, Pat Kessler, MNsure Corruption, Election 2014
This article shows how the environmental left uses the regulation process to kill good-paying construction jobs:
“We don’t see where anyone’s actually said, ‘yes, you have the need to go forward. We want you to go forward, and now let’s find a place to go forward,'” said attorney Frank Bibeau, representing Honor the Earth.
Bibeau argued that a certificate of need should be requested.
“If you do the certificate of need, then we at least know we have to do a project,” said Bibeau. “Right now we’ve got everybody alarmed, and we’re worried about who else we might alarm just because we’re not sure what we’re going to do.”
Ultimately, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission sided with Bibeau and Honor the Earth, killing high-paying construction jobs. Thanks to Honor the Earth’s stunt, railroad capacity will continue to be limited, meaning farmers’ crops won’t get to market in a timely fashion:
Supporters were also quick to point to the problems caused by oil tankers dominating the railway system, and choking out agricultural shipments like grain.
Earlier this week, Gov. Dayton held discussions about how to get those grain shipments moving and to improve railroad safety. The simple solution is building pipelines.
Environmental activists apparently don’t care that farmers and construction workers are getting hurt by their scorched earth tactics. Environmental activists are the dominant part of the DFL in Minnesota and Democrats nationwide. They’ve figured out a way to shaft the F and the L in the DFL, aka farmers and laborers.
It’s time those parts of the DFL to notice that they’re getting shafted by the DFL. Why should farmers continue to support the DFL? Environmentalists continually lobby to heap regulation upon regulation on family farmers. Those same environmental activists continually shut down major construction projects.
The DFL continually talks about how important farmers and laborers are to the DFL. Unfortunately, their actions show how they’re dominated by the environmental activists’ agenda. That’s why farmers and laborers should question the DFL this election season.
Specifically, they should ask the DFL ‘what’ve you done for me lately’? It’s an especially legitimate question after the stunt that Honor the Earth and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission pulled Thursday.
Sunday morning, Ember Reichgott-Junge repeated the chanting point she recited Friday night. On @ Issue With Tom Hauser, Ms. Reichgott-Junge characterized Minnesota’s economy as strong, which it clearly isn’t.
An economy that just saw 4,200 jobs disappear in July isn’t strong. An economy where revenues came in 6.6% short of the state’s projection isn’t strong. An economy where the unemployment rate for an entire region of the state is 64.3% higher than the statewide average isn’t a strong economy.
This confirms the DFL’s metrocentric focus. It also confirms the fact that the DFL’s policies are designed to promote metro growth, not outstate growth. Twin Cities businesses don’t worry about regulations. Rural businesses, however, worry about regulations every day. Regulations are what’s suppressing the Iron Range economy.
Ms. Reichgott-Junge hasn’t factored those things into her calculations. The Twin Cities’ unemployment rate is 4,92%. It isn’t surprising that she either didn’t know or didn’t care that Grand Rapids’ unemployment rate for January was 11.6%, that February’s unemployment rate was 11.9% and that March’s unemployment rate was 11.2%. That’s more than twice as high as the statewide average.
I triple dog dare a DFL politician to explain how that type of chronic unemployment is proof of a vibrant, expanding economy. For the last 3+ years, the unemployment rate has been next-to-worthless as a benchmark of economic vitality. That’s because millions of people (literally) nationwide have quit looking for work, thereby artificially lowering the nation’s unemployment rate.
Another reason why the unemployment rate has become unreliable in terms of how strong the economy is is the number of people who’ve had their hours cut thanks to Obamacare. These are known as 29ers.
Minnesota hasn’t been immune from these trends. There are lots of people who’ve quit looking for work. The workforce participation rate is on the verge of dropping below 70% for the first time since October, 1980. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, aka DEED, the percentage of people who are underemployed is almost 50%.
When people quit looking for work, that’s proof the economy isn’t vibrant. If they’re working a part-time job in the hospitality industry after being a manager in a manufacturing company, that’s proof that the economy isn’t producing the high-paying jobs Minnesotans need to pay their bills.
Gov. Dayton and the DFL chanting puppets will undoubtedly keep chanting that Minnesota’s economy is strong. That’s their choice. It just isn’t the truth.
The workforce participation rate is proof of a stagnant economy. The fact that Minnesota’s economy has created only 2,900 jobs in 2014 is proof of a stagnant (or worse) economy. The fact that a major part of the state (the Iron Range) is suffering through a higher-than-normal unemployment rate (8.02%) is proof that the policies passed by the DFL legislature and implemented by Gov. Dayton aren’t working.
The revenues that Gov. Dayton and the DFL need to come in to balance the budget aren’t coming in. In July, revenues fell $69,000,000 short of projections. Thus far this year, revenues have fallen short of projection in 5 of the 6 months we have statistics for. The Dayton-DFL economy is heading towards the Dayton-DFL deficit.
Gov. Dayton and the DFL are satisfied with an economy where unemployment rates are artificially low and stagnant wages and part-time jobs are real.
Technorati: Mark Dayton, Unemployment Rate, Workforce Participation Rate, Part-Time Jobs, Iron Range, Chronic Unemployment, Budget Deficit, Chanting Puppets, Ember Reichgott-Junge, ABM, DFL, Election 2014